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Sampling Restrictions Alter Prescribing Behavior Modestly

Last Updated: September 15, 2010.

Implementation of a policy restricting drug sampling and pharmaceutical industry detailing in a small rural clinic resulted in modest reductions in the prescription of branded and promoted drugs, according to research published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a policy restricting drug sampling and pharmaceutical industry detailing in a small rural clinic resulted in modest reductions in the prescription of branded and promoted drugs, according to research published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Daniel M. Hartung, of the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy in Portland, and colleagues evaluated prescribing trends in a rural Oregon family practice clinic to assess the effect on prescribing behavior of a policy restricting pharmaceutical industry detailing and sampling.

The researchers found that the use of promoted brands decreased by 1.43 percent, while non-promoted brand use increased by 3.04 percent. Prescriptions for branded drugs for respiratory disease fell 11.34 percent compared with a control group of prescribers, and there was a 9.98 and 11.34 percent decrease in prescriptions of promoted brands for cholesterol-lowering drugs and antidepressants, respectively. The trend in average per-prescription cost for lipid-lowering drugs was reduced significantly -- by 70 cents per prescription monthly. Immediately after policy implementation, average prescription drug costs overall increased by $5.18.

"Restriction of pharmaceutical industry representatives and samples from a rural family practice clinic produced modest reductions in branded drug use that varied by class. Although aggregate average costs increased, prescriptions for branded and promoted lipid-lowering agents and antidepressants were reduced," the authors write.

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