Stocking up on samples stopped

Drug  company representatives may supply GPs with samples of their products. These samples can influence prescribing, so a rural practice has monitored what happened when its five doctors stopped accepting samples.

The local pharmacy supplied information on the 92,223 prescriptions dispensed in the 21 months before, and in the 21 months after, the no-samples policy began. Another practice in a different area acted as a control.

The prescribing of drugs being promoted by the drug companies declined after the policy started. There was also a significant reduction in the use of brand names on prescriptions for lipid-lowering and antihypertensive drugs. However, the overall trend in brand name prescribing did not change significantly.

After the policy was implemented, there were some significant changes in prescribing within the practice, but none of them was significantly different from the trends seen in the control practice. There was some