Perception of prescription medicine sample packs among Australian professional, government, industry, and consumer organizations, based on automated textual analysis of one-on-one interviews

Kyle, Greg J., Nissen, Lisa, & Tett, Susan (2008) Perception of prescription medicine sample packs among Australian professional, government, industry, and consumer organizations, based on automated textual analysis of one-on-one interviews. Clinical Therapeutics, 30(12), pp. 2461-2473.

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Prescription medicine samples provided by pharmaceutical companies are predominantly newer and more expensive products. The range of samples provided to practices may not represent the drugs that the doctors desire to have available. Few studies have used a qualitative design to explore the reasons behind sample use.


The aim of this study was to explore the opinions of a variety of Australian key informants about prescription medicine samples, using a qualitative methodology.


Twenty-three organizations involved in quality use of medicines in Australia were identified, based on the authors' previous knowledge. Each organization was invited to nominate 1 or 2 representatives to participate in semistructured interviews utilizing seeding questions. Each interview was recorded and transcribed verbatim. Leximancer v2.25 text analysis software (Leximancer Pty Ltd., Jindalee, Queensland, Australia) was used for textual analysis. The top 10 concepts from each analysis group were interrogated back to the original transcript text to determine the main emergent opinions.


A total of 18 key interviewees representing 16 organizations participated. Samples, patient, doctor, and medicines were the major concepts among general opinions about samples. The concept drug became more frequent and the concept companies appeared when marketing issues were discussed. The Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and cost were more prevalent in discussions about alternative sample distribution models, indicating interviewees were cognizant of budgetary implications. Key interviewee opinions added richness to the single-word concepts extracted by Leximancer.


Participants recognized that prescription medicine samples have an influence on quality use of medicines and play a role in the marketing of medicines. They also believed that alternative distribution systems for samples could provide benefits. The cost of a noncommercial system for distributing samples or starter packs was a concern. These data will be used to design further research investigating alternative models for distribution of samples.

Impact and interest:

10 citations in Scopus
8 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 77072
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: prescription sample, medication, opinion, organization, government.
DOI: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2008.12.016
ISSN: 0149-2918
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Deposited On: 07 Oct 2014 07:02
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2016 00:38

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