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HQ 555619

October 29, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C 555619 RA


TARIFF NO.: 9811.00.60

Mr. Jack D. Mlawski
Galvin, Haroian & Mlawski
425 Park Avenue, 29th Floor
New York, New York 10022

RE: Applicability of sample provision in subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS, to pharmaceutical tablets

Dear Mr. Mlawski:

This is in response to your letter of March 23, 1990, requesting a ruling on the eligibility for free entry under subheading 9811.00.60, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of sample prescription pharmaceutical tablets.


You state that the tablets will be imported in bulk and repackaged for distribution to physicians who will give them to their patients free of charge. The tablets will be repacked in vials or in blister packs in varying amounts and the containers will state that the contents are complimentary and not for sale. The purpose of distributing the sample tablets through physicians is to create a demand for the foreign products. You indicate that, upon importation, either each tablet will be marked "Sample" or the bulk container will be marked "Samples."


Whether the imported tablets will be entitled to free entry as samples for soliciting orders for foreign products under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS.


Subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS, provides for the free entry of any sample valued not over $1.00 each, or marked, torn, perforated, or otherwise treated so that it is unsuitable for sale or for use otherwise than as a sample, to be used in the U.S. only for soliciting orders for products of foreign countries.

You believe that your case is similar to that involved in Italian Drug Importing Co. v. U.S., 46 Cust. Ct. 243, C.D. 2263 (1961), where the court allowed the free entry claim under a precursor provision to subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS, for vitamins imported and distributed to physicians for use as samples. However, as you noted, the samples in that case were not imported in bulk and repackaged after importation as your client intends to do. In our opinion, if the tablets are imported in bulk and not individually marked or treated in some way to distinguish them from standard merchandise, they cannot be considered to fall within the scope of the term "samples." The mere marking of the outer container of the bulk merchandise would not be sufficient to ensure that the tablets are rendered, unsuitable for sale or for use otherwise than as a sample" since the tablets could be distributed through regular commercial channels and not used as samples for taking orders.

However, if the tablets in their condition as imported are individually marked "Sample," they could be treated as samples and, under the principle of the Italian Drug case, eligible for free entry under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUSA, upon proof that the tablets will be distributed to physicians to give to their patients in order to stimulate future orders of the foreign product.


Pharmaceutical tablets individually marked "Sample" and imported to be repackaged and distributed to physicians who will supply them free of charge to patients are entitled to free entry under subheading 9811.00.60, HTSUS, upon submission of proof of the intended use.


John Durant, Director,
Commercial Rulings Division

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