On Sept. 12, 2018, La Jolla-based West Health released a new national poll from its West Health Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit healthcare research organization, and conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Findings provide insights into how Americans think about today’s prescription drug costs:
- Three-quarters of Americans consider the cost of prescription drugs in the United States to be “unreasonable,” and despite promises from the President and members of Congress to rein in prices, few approve of either’s handling of the issue.
- Only 23 percent of the public approves of how President Trump is dealing with the high cost of prescription drugs.
- Nor are Americans satisfied with how either party in Congress is handling the issue: 20 percent approve of what Democrats in Congress are doing and 16 percent approve of how Republicans are handling the issue. Roughly a third of respondents had no opinion either way.
- The survey also found the high cost of healthcare is a top public policy issue for Americans. When presented with a list of six issues, 78 percent said addressing healthcare costs was their highest priority, similar to the number who say the same about jobs and the economy (76 percent), and ranking higher than national security (71 percent), the environment (63 percent), immigration (51 percent), or trade (38 percent).
- High prescription drugs prices are a particular worry for most Americans. Sixty-five percent said they are extremely or very concerned about the issue. Another 88 percent said lowering medication costs should be a top priority for candidates running for Congress.
- When it comes to potential solutions, the survey found the most popular proposals among Americans are allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies to get lower prices, allowing more generics to compete with name brand drugs, and requiring more transparency on pricing from drug companies. Eight in 10 support each of these policies.
Additionally, West Health announced their Foundation is one of three national foundations committing $10 million each to create Civica Rx, a new not-for-profit generic drug company, to address chronic shortages and the rising price of life-saving generic medications. Read the announcement on the West Health website.