Samples of drugs are often given to doctors by pharmaceutical representatives as part of a marketing strategy. Despite the well described advantages of drug samples, little has been published on the potential adverse outcomes. A series of consumer calls to the Adverse Medicine Events Line has highlighted concerns regarding the quality use of medicines associated with drug samples. The most commonly reported problems were drug samples being supplied to patients with inadequate information regarding dosage, administration, storage and possible adverse effects. In addition, some patients were given excessive quantities of a drug. To reduce such adverse outcomes, the drug industry, health professionals and consumers should be aware of the potential problems associated with starter packs.