Pharmaceutical manufacturers have long claimed that one of the main reasons they shower doctors with free drug samples is so that doctors can pass the medicine along to poor patients. But a new study challenges the notion that the poor are the major beneficiaries.
The analysis, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health, shows that 12 percent of Americans got free drug samples in 2003. But rich people get free prescription drug samples more often than poor people. Not that doctors favor rich people with health insurance — it's more a matter of poorer people not seeing personal physicians as often, if at all.