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Research Letter
January 27, 2020

A National Survey of the Frequency of Drug Company Detailing Visits and Free Sample Closets in Practices Delivering Primary Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Center for Medicine in the Media, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire
  • 2The Lisa Schwartz Foundation for Truth in Medicine, Norwich, Vermont
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(4):592-595. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.6770

Pharmaceutical companies spend more on clinician office visits (also known as detailing) and free drug samples (also known as sample closets) than any other forms of professional marketing in the United States (totaling $18.5 billion in 2016).1 Detailing and free samples affect prescribing quality and expenditures, often by promoting new and expensive brand-name drugs over equally effective, older, and less expensive options.2 Some hospitals and medical centers have restricted these activities.3 We surveyed a national sample of US outpatient practices delivering primary care to determine the prevalence of detailing and sample closets.

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