• What’s in your sample closet? A cross-sectional study to quantify the number of expired samples and to evaluate novelty and usefulness of sample closet medications

      Evans, Kari; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Brown, Steven (The University of Arizona., 2013-03)
      Background Many physicians dispense drug samples in their offices. In general, evidence suggests that drug samples provide minimal benefit to patients. Objective and Hypothesis To quantify the number of expired sample closet medications and to analyze the medications most commonly found for their novelty and usefulness. We hypothesized that the medications found in local sample closets will often be expired and will not be novel or useful. Methods We inventoried ten sample closets in primary care clinics. We quantified the number of expired medications and analyzed the 23 medications found in seven or more closets. To assess novelty, we determined if the sample medication: had a new mechanism of action, had a generic on market with same mechanism of action, and had a generic medication on market for the same indication. To assess usefulness, we determined if the sample medication had improved patient oriented outcomes, safety, and tolerability. We noted the cost of a one-month supply for the typical starting dose of each sample medication. Results Of the 12,581 drug packages and boxes we inventoried, 14% of were expired. Ninety-six percent (n=22) of sample closet medications had a generic medication on the market for the same indication and 74% (n=17) had a generic medication on the market with the same mechanism. Only 3 medications (13%) had evidence of superior patient oriented outcomes when compared to other medications for the same indication. Six medications (26%) demonstrated superior safety and tolerability. Only one medication (4%) was recommended as first line therapy in an evidence-based guideline. The mean cost for a one month supply of a typical starting dose was 178 dollars. Significance and Conclusions. Sample closet medications are often expired, have limited novelty and usefulness, and are expensive. The widespread use of sample medications should be re-examined.