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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 11980

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Spurling G, Kyle G.
Is your sample cupboard relevant to your practice?
Aust Fam Physician 2007 Mar; 36:(3):187-8,


Sample medications represented 4% (3.8 million Australian dollars) of the Australian general practice promotional budget of pharmaceutical companies in the second quarter of 2005. In the United States, general practitioners have been shown to use sample medication in up to 20% of encounters both for commencing and for full treatment. Given the USA does not have a universal subsidy for medications like Australia, sample use may be higher than Australian GPs operating with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Australian GPs perceive benefits for samples as a trial run: to test patient tolerability, enhance patient satisfaction, and for those who cannot afford multiple trials of drugs. Acceptance of samples by GPs is associated with preference for and rapid prescription of new drugs and positive attitudes toward pharmaceutical representatives. Concerns with sample medications include prescribing medication that is not the GP’s preferred choice owing to the limited range of samples available. Other concerns include dispensing expired medication and wastage of medications.

MeSH Terms: Drug Industry Drug Storage/standards* Drug Utilization* Family Practice* Humans Marketing* Pharmaceutical Preparations* Poverty Areas* Queensland Substances: Pharmaceutical Preparations


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909