Physicians frequently receive medication samples from pharmaceutical reps. These samples are often distributed to patients. Patients may not be charged for these samples, although an administration fee may be charged if the drug must be delivered in an injection. It could also include special grafting material. In this case, the physician could charge for applying the graft, but not for the graft material.

It is allergy season and a close friend has asked if you can obtain samples for the symptoms since the friend is not employed and cannot afford to purchase from the pharmacy.

Would it be appropriate to do this since there was no cost to the physician? If not, how would you respond to the friend?

Physicians have been caught charging for the samples. Your physician instructs you to charge the patient for the free sample because the practice needs the money & the patient “probably won’t know the difference”. How would you handle such a request?

Search the internet for “Anti-kickback statue” and “Stark” violations. These are federally mandated guidelines that are subject to severe penalties for violations.

Now apply to the following scenario:

A pharmaceutical rep offers the physician tickets to a major sporting event if the physician will agree to purchase all of their drugs from this rep. If the physician accepts, will this violate one of these federal guidelines?