Friday, October 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Drug Samples

Soon, doctors won't be handing patients drug samples from time to time, pharmacists will.  

Doctors were told that makes a difference.  It will soon be a national trend, they were told.  Instead of handing a patient a sample, just type in an order for a sample to the EMR and the pharmacist will make sure they get it.

Doctors were told that the Joint Commission has certain standards that must be met by health care organizations and hospitals when drug samples are given to patients.  After all, doctors were told by at least one of their own that drug company representatives bias the way doctors think and prescribe.  Doctors must also disclose gifts they receive from drug companies that exceed $10, according to the recently activated Physician Payment Sunshine Act.  Doctors were told drug samples might qualify as gifts.  It just looks bad, they were told.

Doctors were not told that their hospital system runs the pharmacy now.

Think about that.  Think about the unintended consequence when yet another small, kind, visible gesture that a doctor can make to his patient is yanked from his control.  Think about the fact that decreasing pharmaceutical sales representatives might decrease pharmaceutical sales of more expensive medications, but might also have the unintended consequence of decreasing access to new and important information to physicians and as one study pointed out, result in doctors who didn't see drug representatives prescribing less effective and potentially more dangerous drugs to their patients longer than those who do.

But at least the sample order will be there in the electronic medical record to track.  Hospitals will be in regulatory compliance and pass their Joint Commission inspections with flying colors.  And no doubt the pharmacist will do a better job of teaching patients at the drug counter when people are lined up in public four-deep to get their prescriptions. Surely the hospital's pharmacist will be completely aware of the patient's entire medical history and offer the correct number of tracked sample medications without any conflict of interest involved.   

And doctors will sleep better at night knowing their physician payment database record remains unblemished.

Yeah, no worries.  None all all.  It's all for the better good.




Anonymous said...

Despite going to formal ACC programs about the NOACs, it was a drug rep who told me that Xarelto needs to be taken with a meal to reach the bioavailability achieved in the clinical trials. While they can be annoying at times, these reps serve a critical purpose.

I would bet that 50% of physicians are unaware of this fact.

Anonymous MD said...

It's ALL about data tracking. Can't let those pesky doctors do anything under the radar. Remember: information = control. The "war" is over.

Anonymous said...

Slowly but surely the lunatics are taking over, and like the one anonymous doc says people will realize - good reps provided some value too bad all our decisions are now made by regulators.
We allowed this to happen!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the new Communist system of healthcare in this country, comrades. My plan was not to retire, but the cretins running this government are making it more tempting every day. Obama wants all of us docs working for a big, corporate hospital entity, that way, Big Brother, the bean counters and paper shufflers in administration can better control everything we do and keep an eye on us, plus pay us less for doing more, so that the CEO of the hospital can keep fuel in his Gulfstream jet. Great situation for them, not so much for us. I think we're not only seeing the demise of our once-great medical system, but of the entire country as well. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

"Despite going to formal ACC programs about the NOACs, it was a drug rep who told me that Xarelto needs to be taken with a meal to reach the bioavailability achieved in the clinical trials. While they can be annoying at times, these reps serve a critical purpose."

I bet it wasnt the Xarelto rep who told you that, though!

Anonymous said...

I bet there is a lot of evidence based medicine in the rep's talk. I have a better idea: Open up a journal and read it some time. Or better yet, ask a clinical PharmD. After they giggle and snort about your less than insightful question, they will give you a good answer. Relaying on drug reps for answers,wow,god bless your little hearts.

Anonymous said...

I am a rep with masters in molecular biology and a MHA. I have called on academic centers for 10 years and community hospitals for 20. And the theory that one clinical pharmacist is going to do all the educational work of the 30-40 reps servicing that hospital with no personal incentive is ridiculous. I could bury every community hospital with lawsuits by tipping off the local medmal lawyer to what is going on that endangers patient safety, but I never would..I would actually like to help by bringing in academics to help transfer new best practices. The systems are saying "we got this"...but they don't...and are shutting out a potential partner with the resources and incentives to accelerate education of emerging best practices..