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January 10, 2001

Free Meals From the Pharmaceutical Industry—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(2):164-166. doi:10.1001/jama.285.2.163

In Reply: Dr Echikson and Dr Hayashi raise an issue that I did not address in my comments, but it is worthy here of a brief remark. At first blush, giving free samples to people who cannot pay for the drugs sounds rational. As pointed out recently, however, the provision of free samples of newly released drugs is simply another example of a hidden promotional agenda by the drug industry. Familiarity with these expensive drugs by physicians who dispense them tends to enhance their local utilization and thus drives up the cost of care.1