Use of Prescription Drug Samples and Patient Assistance Programs, and the Role of Doctor¿Patient Communication

Seniors who have trouble paying for prescription drugs may skip doses or never fill a prescription. They also may accept free samples from their doctor or enroll in a pharmacy industry-sponsored patient assistance program (PAP).

This 2006 survey of 14,322 Medicare beneficiaries sought to characterize the users of cost-saving programs and the effect of doctor-patient communication on participation. The respondents were predominantly White (86%), and had two or more chronic conditions (71%).

Key Findings:

  • 51 percent of seniors reported receiving at least one free sample in the past year; 29 percent received more than one.
  • Those with higher monthly incomes (over $2,500), were 51 percent likely to receive a free sample while those with lower mon