Generic Drug Samples in Doctors’ Offices

Aetna announced plans to launch a pilot program that will put ATM-like machines that will dispense samples of generic drugs in doctors’ offices. Medications for depression and high blood pressure are among those that will be stocked in the machine. Using an access code, doctors can get a 30-day supply of a drug to give a patient.

The idea is to counterbalance the brand-name samples that drug companies provide to doctors, give patients a chance to test out a drug before paying for it and reduce costs for patients as well as the company.

Aetna and MedVantx, the company that will stock the machines, say that they will encourage doctors to give the drugs to all patients, whether they have Aetna insurance or not. Doctors will not be given "financial incentives" to participate in the program. (I think that means money, dinners, game tickets, etc., but am not sure. Does anyone know if the phrase "financial incentives" applies to perks other than money?)

Philadelphia will be the home of the pilot program.

via Kaiser Network’s Oct. 12 health policy report.

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