The ban on industry-supplied medication samples and industry-supplied medication sample vouchers goes into effect July 1. The JHM policy on interaction with industry does not ban use of samples needed for patient education, such as inhalers for asthma patients, provided that no product name is displayed.
Implementation was delayed until July 1, 2011, to assess the impact on uninsured and needy patients. In the interim, a charity care prescription program was piloted in three clinics. These clinics eliminated medication samples, advised needy patients on inexpensive sources of medication, helped them enroll in Medical Assistance, and counseled them on low-cost retail options. The JHM Outpatient Pharmacy filled these patients' prescriptions free-of-charge for a short period of time while other arrangements were made. The pilot program was well received. Clinic directors reported more thoughtful prescribing decisions, continuity of medication access, and avoidance of costly ED visits. The pilot is another example of Johns Hopkins' long tradition of providing care for patients regardless of their ability to pay.
To help underserved patients who may be affected by the ban on industry-supplied medication samples, we are launching the JHM Outpatient Medication Assistance Program for eligible clinic sites. Clinics will apply to participate and will work closely with the program leadership. More information and a program application will be available soon. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Policy Coordination at 410-516-5560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clinics should discard remaining industry-supplied samples and vouchers by July 1, 2011, in accordance with appropriate protocols for medication disposal.
Thank you for your cooperation in upholding this important new policy.
Edward D. Miller, M.D.
Dean of the Medical Faculty
CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Ronald R. Peterson
The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System
EVP, Johns Hopkins Medicine