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Research Letter
July 13, 2009

Effect of Sample Medication Restrictions on Prescribing at a Private Clinic

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(13):1241-1247. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.171

Sample medications allow physicians to quickly initiate therapy to evaluate initial patient response. However, sample closets primarily contain newer, costly brand name medications and rarely have generic options available. Studies now suggest that sample availability may affect the medications that physicians choose to subsequently prescribe,1,2 but little data exist regarding this effect in private practice. In the present study, we explored the effect of removing samples of 3 medication classes on prescribing patterns at a private clinic.

The primary objective of this study was to measure the effect of removing free samples of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins), levothyroxine products, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) from a private clinic on the percentage of generic prescribing within each drug class and classes combined. Secondary objectives included the effect on generic prescribing for all medications and sustainability.