Table 2.

Conformity to the CMA guidelines and Rx&D Code of Ethical Practices for the management of drug samples within FMTUs keeping drug samples: Overall, 33 FMTUs kept drug samples; 5 of them were situated in more than 1 location but only 1 managed their samples differently in the 2 locations. Thus, we used 34 FMTU locations in our analysis.

Selection criteriaNot regulatedNone of the FMTUs had written drug selection criteria
ProcurementAuthorized HCPs* must sign an order for the product1Physicians or pharmacists involved in 27 FMTUs (79%)
ReceptionDistribution only to authorized HCPs1Physicians or pharmacists involved in 19 FMTUs (56%)
StorageNot regulatedControlled access in 24 FMTUs (71%)
Uncontrolled access in 10 FMTUs (29%)
InventoryType and amount of medication or product dispensed is recorded2Regular inventory performed in 13 FMTUs (38%)
Register kept of samples removed from cabinet in 5 FMTUs (15%)
Verification of expiration datesExpiration dates and security of drug samples are checked2Regular checking§ in 28 FMTUs (82%)
Irregular or unknown frequency of checking in 5 FMTUs (15%)
No checking in 1 FMTU (3%)
DisposalProper disposal of expired drug samples is ensured1,2Proper disposal in 29 FMTUs (85%)
Improper or unknown disposal in 5 FMTUs (15%)
  • CMA—Canadian Medical Association, FMTU—family medicine teaching unit, HCP—health care professional, Rx&D—Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies.

  • * Authorized HCPs include physicians, dentists, veterinarians, or pharmacists.

  • FMTU locations where physicians or pharmacists were involved in ordering samples or in meeting pharmaceutical sales representatives to obtain samples, or both.

  • Controlled access is defined as a locked cabinet, limited access to the storage location, or both. Uncontrolled access is defined as no locked cabinet combined with no limited access to the storage location.

  • § Regular checking is defined as a frequency of once every 6 mo or more often.

  • Proper disposal included samples returned to the pharmacy, returned to the pharmaceutical companies, or brought to the incinerator directly or through medical waste disposal facilities.