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Letters |

Drug Samples: Benefit or Bait?—Reply

John M. Westfall, MD, MPH; Jennifer McCabe, MSI; Richard A. Nicholas, MD
JAMA. 1998;279(21):1698-1699. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-21-jbk0603.
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In Reply.—We are encouraged that the issues surrounding drug samples have generated so much interest and debate.1We continue to be astounded that the pharmaceutical industry will invest more than $250000 in a single practice. Dr Wolfe is correct that "pharmaceutical companies are in the business of making money." Pharmaceutical companies' "generosity" to provide drug samples has a specific purpose: to change physician behavior to write more prescriptions for their particular drug. Wolfe seems to support physicians' partnership with the pharmaceutical industry. We hope that a physician's partnership with his or her patient will always take precedence. In an era in which physicians publicly decry for-profit health care, we are surprised that so many are willing to be partners with the pharmaceutical industry. We reiterate that prescribing medications based on convenience (whatever happens to be in the drug sample closet) may not be the best medicine for the patient.

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