Doctor’s Office Sample Drugs

by Cinda Crawford on January 28, 2010

in Getting Well,What do you do if you're really sick?

Did you know that when you graciously accept the prescription sample drugs that you get at your doctor’s office that you could be setting yourself up for aggravation and lots of money out of pocket?

Well, it’s true.

A) Those sample drugs are available because drug reps (representatives) came by your doctor’s office. They educated him or her on the value and use of their newest, most fantastic drug. They want him to write a lot of precriptions for it, so they in turn leave sample drugs for the doctor to try out on his patients.

B) IF those samples do work for you, that’s a win for the drug reps and the drug corporation which they represent because, ordinarily when you call in, a new prescription will be written for that same drug.

BEWARE: You’re opening up pandora’s box and out pops two very troubling and potentially expensive problems:

PROBLEM #1) Getting your insurance company to agree to pay for this new drug, when there may be plenty of other choices around. Very often your health insurance company refuses to pay for this new drug at all– no reimbursement. You’re left sick, confused, dazed and not knowing which way to turn. So you go back and forth between your doctor, the pharmacist and the insurance company with multiple frustrating phone calls. You keep trying to get the drug approved and paid for by the insurance company, but often that does not happen.

PROBLEM #2) Going ahead and paying for the drug yourself, even though it’s probably at the highest cost end of the scale. Because the drug is in its infancy, count on it being expensive. Plus, it will not be classed favorably for insurance reimbursement purposes. If your insurance company refuses to pay for it, ask yourself this question: “Will you get it anyway and be stuck with the whole bill?” If the answer is yes… watch out… because the cost could be exorbitant! (Even if your insurance company finally agrees to cover the drug for reimbursement, you’ll pay the highest out-of-pocket cost and largest co-pay that your policy allows.)

Insurance companies are into saving themselves money. They meet their contractual obligations to you and then that’s it for them. Don’t be fooled by the “feel-good, I’m your best buddy” commercials. Insurance companies are simply a business like every other one out there. They keep two keen eyes on their bottom line by keeping out-going expenses as low as possible.

No red ink allowed!

Tomorrow on the Health Matters Show, I’ll give you 2 “other” good choices, instead of automatically assuming that you have only these two choices listed above. You don’t have to pay for these high priced prescription drugs -or- do without any help at all. You innocently started out on this journey when you were sick at the doctor’s office. You accepted the sample drugs he gave you. These high-priced drugs may not be your best option.

On the Health Matters Show at 3 pm EST Friday, we’ll talk about these 2 other choices. They are readily available to you. I hope to see you right back here on the website tomorrow!

Today, if you’ve had this kind of frustrating experience at your doctor’s office, take a moment to leave a comment. Sometimes what you’ve been through will help someone else.

Thanks, Cinda Crawford
Your host of the Health Matters Show

Remember: 3 pm EST on Friday afternoons, the Health Matters Show offers an audio podcast that you can listen to here on the website (day, night, any time- it never goes away!) Or, feel free to catch it on iTunes. You can even sign up to receive the iTunes broadcast automatically. See the sign-up button underneath the video on this website, right hand side.

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Maija Haavisto 01.28.10 at 12:20 pm

Another problem is that they are unlikely to have samples of the drugs that are the most likely to help while being very safe and well-tolerated, such as low dose naltrexone, baclofen, nimodipine or nootropics. So if you go by samples alone, you’ll never get to try the best treatments. Of course, many doctors are completely ignorant of the hundreds of medications there are for CFS/ME and fibromyalgia anyway, but some are open-minded enough to listen if you bring them up.


Sarakastic 02.05.10 at 9:30 am

Ah I’d never thought about how those freebies come back to haunt us but it’s true.


Cinda Crawford 02.05.10 at 4:12 pm

Thanks for your reply. All we have to do is be wary of what we’re doing. The first couple of times that I took those drug samples and ran the circuit of battling back and forth with my health insurance company to try to get them approved for a full prescription, I learned what was happening. One of the nurses asked me, “Well, if you want a cheaper drug, why did you ask for the expensive one?” Duh… I didn’t know I was! But I learned and so can everyone else.

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