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January 1988

Free Drug Samples: Use and Abuse

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of Virginia School of Medicine Charlottesville, VA 22908

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(1):135-137. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670010091030

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On May 14, 1986, Congressman John Dingell, chairman of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, along with ten cosponsors, introduced a bill, HR 4820, designed "to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ban the reimportation of drugs produced in the United States, to place restrictions on drug samples, to ban certain resales of drugs purchased by hospitals and other health care facilities, and for other purposes." Section 5 of this legislation would prohibit direct distribution of free samples of drugs to physicians by representatives or other employees of drug manufacturers. The manufacturer would be allowed to mail samples to physicians on written request, and the physician must return a receipt to the manufacturer. All records of such transactions must be retained by the manufacturer.

On Sept 24, 1986, Senator Spark Matsunaga, with nine cosponsors, introduced identical legislation (S 2875) into the US Senate. These bills have

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