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Free drug samples may injure kids

In another example of the "law of unintended consequences", a study in the journal Pediatrics suggested that drug samples provided  to kids by physicians may cause more harm than good.  The journal noted that while poor kids get more samples from doctors than do other kids, the greater share of these samples actually do not go to poor kids, as poor kids are far less likely to see a doctor.  The study noted that doctors are  more likely to have on hand samples of the newest medications, the risks of which may not be fully known or understood.  As a result, large scale use may not have uncovered subtle dangers, warnings and instructions may not be as complete, and more expensive prices and co-pays may result in mis-use or improper discontinuation of the drug.  As an example of this phenomenon, the study pointed to the drug Elidel, which was implicated in an apparent increase in skin cancer among early users. 

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