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Next, Ban the "Samples."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22756905

We all know that pens, clocks and mugs with "DrugName" on them do have an effect on prescriptions for those medications. We also know that fancy kickbacks and lunches on the drugmaker's dime also contribute to physicians being so "aware" of the medications that they are more likely to prescribe them routinely.

But we also need to think about prescription "samples" as well. Often, when I have a prescription for something, I may receive a sample before I fill it. That's great! But then I wonder... at a $55 copay for a "name brand" prescription (each!!), is it really such a bargain? Would I have been prescribed this medication if I were on a different insurance plan? Is it the only effective way to treat my problem?

I just wonder if the "free samples" lead doctors into thinking they are doing some sort of favour to the patient when they are prescribing. I mean, why give a $4 generic prescription for some sort of old thing that's been on the market forever when I can dash out a prescription for something "new" and not only that... here's a free sample! I can show that I'm up on the latest dosing suggestions for this problem and I'm informed. See what a good specialist I am?

OK, that's what I wonder sometimes, although it may just be that our famiy has very complicated medical problems that necessitate LOTS of these $55/each prescriptions. Maybe I am being very unfair to those in the medical profession. I'm starting to think not, though. I think next time, I'm going to ask about less expensive alternatives. In the past, I've been afraid that doing so would compromise my care and was a bit scared to do so. But now, I think I'll at least mention that this stupid drug costs me $55/month, and our family has a billion of 'em and they add up. Anything cheaper out there that's still good?

Yep. Think that's what I'll do next time.

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