In the old days, according to Glenn, the gentleman farmer Republican, to some extent mythical in his role as founder of this nation (v.2), had a different relationship with his pharmacist than today, under Obamacare and under administrations in my lifetime (I go back to the Eisenhower-Kennedy transition, the one Col. F. Prouty writes about).
The GFR (say Abe Lincoln) could walk into a log hewn pharmacy and consult directly with the Chinese apothecaries running it. Ol' doc Watson down the road was for other squeaks and squrims. You didn't need to bug him for a piece of paper (Rx) or have it faxed over or phoned.
Those days are long gone of course, except in some of the mail eating professions (say psychiatry), where big pharma ships samples to every registered practitioner it might legally mail to, and then some if in Canada (statutes differ from nation to nation, as most are aware).
I'm not knocking trying the samples sometimes, as you're also remiss if you're just pushing to patients with no first hand experience, and is that a psychiatrist you want in your service. At least rattle-bearing shamans could be counted on to have tried before they'd buy. Same thing in anthropology: if you won't drink the kool-aid, what right have you to be "an authority" on these people.
Yes, I'm sampling some long-running debates. Many plot lines twist and turn around polarities like this, any novelist or screenwriter knows.
Of course some GFR want to turn back the clock and return to the old days, when they had more authority to self treat and self heal. All this red tape is for bozos, the "boat people" of all varieties who quickly complicated the scene, and the myth.
This is their agenda behind "legalizing drugs" (which doesn't make much sense given most drugs are already legal, at least the good ones).
Inertia is not on their side though. Huge staffs of migrant workers make a living interdicting supplies and enforcing various codes. Customs and borders have always been this way, an opportunity for families to get their fair share. Call them "bribes" if you must, but there is often risk involved, and the families "on the dole" are proud of their roles in the grander scheme of things.
We could make this about the "pepper trade" if that made it more accessible. Apparently people got a lot more out of pepper than most of us today, simply because we take our own living standards for granted and are always lusting after the "next big thing", aka whatever next "spice" as they say on Dune. Again, these plots have been around for awhile.