US opinion on prescription drug price and regulation

INICIO/Informes | Posted 01/10/2021 post-comment0 Post your comment

Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) research released the results of the KFF Health Tracking Poll (18–25 May 2021) in June 2021. The poll has revealed that many in the US believe drug prices are unreasonable [1].

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The results of the poll have also showed that the US public believes the high price of prescription drugs is due to the profits made by pharmaceutical companies, with almost 80% stating that they believe the profits are a ‘major factor’ in the price of prescription drugs. Almost 70% said the cost of research and development is a ‘major factor’ in price, and just over half said that the cost of marketing and advertising is a major contributing factor, see Table 1.

In addition, approximately two-thirds of adults said there is ‘not as much regulation as there should be’ when it comes to limiting the price of prescription drugs. Those contributing to the poll were also asked about their political allegiances and this revealed that when it comes to lowering the cost of prescription drugs, most said that ‘their’ party (Republican, Democrat, Independent) would do a better job of lowering prescription prices. However, independents said they are more likely to trust the Democratic Party than the Republican Party to do a better job of lowering the price of prescription drugs.

Table 1: Opinions related to the ‘major factor’ contributing to the price of prescription drugs
Factors contributing to price of prescription drugs % of contributors who said this is a ‘major factor’
Profits made by pharmaceutical companies 78
Cost of R & D 68
Cost of marketing and advertising 52

  
The majority of those involved in the recent poll support proposals to allow the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price on medications for those using Medicare and private insurance. In previous polls (February and October 2019), showed the majority support other measures to reduce drug prices, see Table 2. Those with greatest support include making it easier for generic drugs to enter the market, increasing taxes on drug companies that refuse to negotiate drug prices, allowing Medicare to place limits on how much drug companies can increase drug prices, allowing purchase of imported drugs from Canada and placing a limit on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare patients.

Table 2: Percentages of 2019 and 2021 polls* who are in favour of certain policies proposed to keep prescription drug costs down
Policy % of poll contributors in support of the policy
Allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price on medications for those using Medicare and private insurance (May 2021) 88
Making it easier for generic drugs to come to market (February 2019) 88
Placing an annual limit on out-of-pocket drug costs for people with Medicare (October 2019) 81
Allowing Americans to buy drugs imported from Canada (October 2019) 78
Allowing Medicare to place limits on how much drug companies can increase the price of drugs (based on annual inflation rates) (October 2019) 76
Increasing taxes on drug companies that refuse to negotiate the price of Rx drugs with the government (October 2019) 72
Increasing taxes on drug companies with high prices (February 2019) 63
Lowering what Medicare pays based on amounts paid in other countries (October 2019) 62
Ending drug companies’ advertising tax break (February 2019) 57
Allowing Medicare plans to put more restrictions on use of certain drugs (February 2019) 53
Allowing Medicare drug plans to exclude more drugs (February 2019) 25
*Polls of 14–24 February 2019; 3–8 October 2019; 18–25 May 2021.

  
Overall, despite concerns over price and price regulation, almost 60% of those who participated in the poll believe prescription drugs developed over the past 20 years have generally made the lives of people in the US better.

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Reference
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. US opinion on prescription drug affordability [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2021 Oct 1]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/reports/us-opinion-on-prescription-drug-affordability

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