PA MDs Get Drug "ATMs"

DECEMBER 01, 2005

A growing number of physicians across the country are installing ATM-style machines in their offices to dispense generic drug samples to their patients. The purpose of the in-office machines is to counteract the effect of drug-sampling activities by the brand name pharmaceutical industry. Aetna Health Insurance gave a significant push to this trend by announcing a pilot project through which doctors in the Philadelphia area will be provided with the generic machines.

According to IMS Health, physicians received more than 1 billion branded drug samples last year—3 for every person in the United States—an 18% increase over 2003. Although doctors provided patients with $16 billion worth of free branded drug samples last year, critics of the practice say that such sampling limits opportunities for prescribing generic drugs that would be cheaper in the long term.

The generic-drug machines will be installed in the doctors' offices by MedVantx, a San Diego (Calif)-based company that specializes in promoting the use of generic medications with doctors and their patients in concert with health plans. The machines typically dispense 30-day supplies of medication for the treatment of a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, depression, and diabetes.

According to officials at MedVantx, the average patient saves $150 annually per prescription when using a generic medication, compared with an alternative branded therapy. To date, the company's generic "vending machines" have dispensed 100,000 samples across 9 therapeutic classes, resulting in an estimated $15 million savings in patient out-of-pocket costs.


Become A RESPIMAT T.O.P. Performer 

Get to know RESPIMAT, the slow-moving mist inhaler from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Watch the RESPIMAT video and test your knowledge with a short multiple-choice quiz. When you get all the answers right, you’ll receive a certificate naming you a RESPIMAT T.O.P. Performer. Why not check it out today?

Pharmacy Times Strategic Alliance

Pharmacist Education
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs

Next-Generation Pharmacist® Awards

3rd Annual Convenient Healthcare and Pharmacy Collaborative Conference

Personalize the information you receive by selecting targeted content and special offers.