A recently developed version of a sample distribution system from MedVantx, Inc. (San Diego) seeks to solve many of the problems associated with sampling facing physician’s offices, drug companies and patients. The program, called MedStart Connect, delivers samples to the physician’s office via a proprietary cabinet, which holds approximately 50 of the most commonly used primary care medications, including generics, branded and OTC, according to MedVantx EVP J.D. Haldeman.
The cabinet dispenses a 30-day sample to patients, who then can be enrolled in a follow-up adherence program, giving them access to home delivery for refills and a pharmacist for medication questions. (Medvantx also operates as a mail-order pharmacy, and has obtained VIPPS [Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice] certification from the National Assn. of Boards of Pharmacy.) MedVantx also guarantees that refilled prescriptions are sourced from the same manufacturer to ensure a consistent appearance. A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that changes in pill color that often occur during the prescription refill process significantly increase the odds of medication non-adherence and suggested that consistency of appearance from one refill could increase adherence.
The program is sponsored in part by those companies for whom MedVantx distributes samples. Teva Pharmaceuticals (North Wales, PA) is the program’s exclusive generics partner for all generic drugs the company manufactures.
According to Haldeman, MedStart Connect operates in many physician’s offices that won’t see pharmaceutical reps or allow sampling. She says the program helps eliminate many of the administrative headaches associated with the sampling process through features like electronic inventory management, automatic tracking of expiration date and lot numbers, and sample data capture which can be synced with patient charts or electronic health records for future reference.
Other benefits of the program touted to sponsors include less sample abuse and waste. “One sample of each product is provided to patients per year,” Haldeman says. “This means our sponsors can ensure samples are being used as intended, as starter medications for patients, not to provide ongoing therapy.” For larger physician’s offices, MedVantx allows them tailor the samples in their cabinet, which helps drug companies ensure they are providing samples to offices that are most likely to use it.
The MedVantx cabinet is installed at some 3,500 physicians’ offices, in eight states. Last December, MedVantx and McKesson Medical-Surgical announced a partnership whereby the latter would offer the cabinet as part of their physician-practice support services.