Wis. hospitals scaling back on free drug samples

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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) -- Health care organizations in northeastern Wisconsin are cutting back on the practice of giving free drug samples to patients, saying the move will ultimately bring costs down.

A Sheboygan Press Media report says hospitals have to pay to dispose of expired medicines. They also have to manage the inventory with heightened safety and security procedures.

Aurora Health Care says it generally prohibits handing out drug samples because prescriptions should be based on which drug is most appropriate, not which are most promoted.

ThedaCare in Neenah has also ended the practice, saying it drives demand for higher-priced medications even when they're not the best option.

Some organizations offered free samples to patients who couldn't afford them. Now Bellin Health of Green Bay gives out vouchers instead, and ThedaCare is upgrading its cost-assistance program.

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