Date : 03-06-2012

Question :

I am a pharmacist working for a foreign pharmaceutical company. My job is to promote the company`s products to specialty doctors and keep them acquainted with the latest pharmaceutical studies. Based on this, the company entrusts me with distributing a limited number of free drug samples amongst these doctors so that they give them to poor patients free. Sometimes, I take these samples and give them to poor patients who need them. What is the ruling of Sharia on this?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

It isn`t permissible for you to give these samples to the poor and needy without asking the permission of the company you are hired in because you are an agent of this company entrusted to promote its products. It is the duty of the agent to deliver the duties entrusted to him otherwise he must make compensation for violating the terms of delegation.

It is stated: "An Agent must do what is in the best interest of the party that deputized him." {AL-Ghorar al-Bahiyah Fi Shareh al-Bahjah al-Wardiah, vol.3,pp.189}. Al-Shirbini says: "If the deputizing party told the agent to sell something to someone at a certain time or place, then he must do that." {Moghni al-Mohtaj, vol.3, pp.250}.

If you (Asker) want to give these samples to the poor and needy, then you must seek the permission of the company you work for first otherwise you must pay for these samples to the company. And Allah the Almighty Knows Best.