Expert advice

Legal advice: Can a sample of cream from a pharmaceutical rep be used on a patient?

Samples provided by pharmaceutical companies can pose difficulties for nurses, including endorsement and storage issues. If you are in doubt it is best not to use the sample, says legal expert Marc Cornock

Samples provided by pharmaceutical companies can pose difficulties for nurses, including endorsement and storage issues. If you are in doubt it is best not to use the sample, says legal expert Marc Cornock

Although there is nothing inherently wrong with accepting a sample from a pharmaceutical representative, it becomes a problem if you are being induced to recommend or use it.

Have you been paid by the company to endorse or use the product? This does not necessarily mean receiving money, and could include sponsorship for you to attend a conference, accommodation costs at a conference, or tickets to a cultural event.

If you have received any incentive from the pharmaceutical rep, it would be contrary to ethical practice to use the product on a patient.

You also have to consider whether it is appropriate to use this particular cream.

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