Approximately 8 in 10 Americans believe that prices of prescription drugs are unreasonable and support various ideas to reduce costs, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug manufacturers and enforce limits on drug prices high price for certain diseases such as cancer, according to a new survey Kaiser Family Foundation.
Furthermore, two-thirds of Americans are in favor of creating an independent group to monitor prices, 71 percent believe it should be able to import drugs from Canada, and nearly 9 out of 10 support notion that drug manufacturers should be obliged to disclose information on how prices are set.
The survey, which asked more than 1,200 Americans was conducted in mid-September, shortly after the controversy erupted Mylan Pharmaceuticals and its strategy of pricing EpiPen . But outrage has hardly been limited to any company or treatment.
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concerns pricing extended to generic who are traditionally lower-cost alternatives to brand name drugs and new drugs for difficult to treat diseases, particularly hepatitis C and some forms of cancer. And the prices of some older drugs such as multiple sclerosis, treatments are also rising.
The problem has become so highly charged that drug prices are a topic of conversation in the presidential campaign and federal and state legislators have enacted laws to contain rising costs, that 77 percent of Americans believe they are unreasonable. This represents an increase of 72 percent a year ago, according to Kaiser.
The survey in fact polled Americans in their reactions to some of the proposals – old and new. For example, 66 percent are in favor of creating an independent group that would oversee pricing, a notion that Hillary Clinton recently proposed.
The survey also found that 86 percent of Americans believe that drug manufacturers should be required to disclose data used to set prices. In Washington, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced a bill earlier this month, just when the survey began, to disclose certain costs and justify price increases. More than a dozen states have introduced similar bills, although only Vermont has approved a law of this type.
However, there is less enthusiasm for other concepts that have been floated.
Only 47 percent of respondents in favor remove ads for prescription drugs, which gained considerable attention last year when the American Medical Association publicly called for a ban in this type of advertising. And only 42 percent support any policy that encourage consumers to buy lower-cost drugs to force them to pay more for a similar, but more expensive drugs.
Paradoxically, few Americans say they have trouble paying for drugs. Fifty-five percent reported taking prescription drugs and of these, 73 percent say that affordability is not a problem. But the 42 percent who say their health is fair or poor said that counted heavily. And 37 percent of those currently taking four or more medications say cost is a problem, compared with 19 percent having less than four medications.
Despite concern about the cost, 56 percent of Americans say that prescription drugs developed over the past 20 years have improved life in general.