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November 19, 1997

Personal Use of Drug Samples by Physicians and Office Staff

Author Affiliations

Newport, Calif

JAMA. 1997;278(19):1568. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550190032024

To the Editor.  —If the agony of Dr Westfall and colleagues1 over personal use of drug samples were indeed pertinent, Shen Nung, who purportedly founded Chinese herbal medicine by testing hundreds of potentially medicinal plants, would have been the first known offender.2 It is naive to believe that such practice, even if adopted universally by all health care professionals, will make a quark of difference in drug cost. If Westfall et al care to probe further, they will find that a drug's price is more closely related to that of its closest competitors and bears little relationship to its actual manufacturing cost. In fact, these same companies can still make a profit by selling their products at a fraction of the domestic price just a few paces from our borders.No one should be so cynical as to believe that a physician would use a drug on himself or herself just