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 weretold 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.