Senate Approves Sample Drug Disclosure Bill

by Senator Leland Yee's Office, Offiicial Wire

Consumers would receive information on dosage and potential side effects

SACRAMENTO ‘ prevalent use of free sample prescription drugs has drawn increased scrutiny.  The oversight of sample prescription drugs is often incomplete or non-existent, which has resulted in With the rising cost of prescription drugs and the ongoing health care coverage crisis, the patients receiving drugs with inadequate information regarding dosing schedule, side effects, and potential drug interactions.

On a bipartisan 25-6 vote, the California State Senate today approved legislation authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) that would require sample prescription drugs received at a doctor’s offices or medical clinic to be accompanied with the same written information regarding the drugs that would normally be received from a pharmacist.

‘It is vital that consumers receive written information regarding dosage and potential side effects on sample drugs,’ said Yee.  ‘This bill will reduce lawsuits, illnesses, and deaths.’

A study conducted by the Journal of Family Practice found that instructions accompanied the dispensing of sample drugs only 47.8 percent of the time and were predominantly verbal in nature.

The study states, ‘Dosing appeared to be the main focus, and little to no attention was given to more detailed information, such as whether the medication should be taken with meals. Drug interactions were not routinely discussed.’

SB 1106 is supported by the Consumer Federation of California, CALPIRG, and the California Alliance for Retired Americans.

‘As the use of sample prescription drugs continues to rise, the need for consumers to have basic health and safety information on those drugs has never been greater,’ said Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California.  ‘At the end of the day, there’s no reason why patients who get sample drugs at a doctor’s office should be less informed than if they filled a prescription at any licensed pharmacy.’

‘The failure to provide basic warning information for sample prescription drugs is a huge loophole that must be corrected,’ said Nan Brasmer, President of the California Alliance for Retired Americans.  ‘This bill could potentially save lives since consumers will have the benefit of all relevant information at their disposal when they receive sample drugs from their doctors.’   

‘Sample prescription drugs carry all the same risks and potential side effects as traditional pharmacy-filled prescriptions,’ said Pedro Morillas, CALPIRG Consumer Advocate.  ‘With studies showing an increased reliance on sample drugs for treatment, consumers need the information that SB 1106 would require drug companies to provide.’

SB 1106 must be approved by the State Assembly before consideration by the Governor.