Poll: Most see prescription drug prices as too high
Americans favor federal action to rein in costs to help out consumers, survey finds
WASHINGTON — More than 3 in 4 Americans believe that prescription drug prices are unreasonable, a new poll shows.
And large majorities — including Democrats and Republicans — favor government steps to make pharmaceuticals more af- fordable for consumers, according to the survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.
The support for federal action comes amid a series of dramatic price spikes by drug makers.
Those price hikes may be driving a decline in public appreciation for prescription drugs, the Kaiser study’s authors speculated.
The share of Americans who believe prescription drugs have made lives better, though still a majority, has declined from 73 percent in 2008 and 62 percent last year to 56 percent today.
At the same time, there is widespread support — 78 percent — for new restrictions on how much pharmaceutical companies can charge for high-cost drugs for illnesses such as hepatitis or cancer.
More than 8 in 10 Americans favor allowing the fed- eral government to negotiate with drug makers to get lower prices on medications for people on Medicare, a move that the pharmaceutical industry and its supporters in Congress have blocked for years.
Soaring drug prices are increasingly being cited by insurers and government programs as a leading cause of rising health care costs, though most consumers are still shielded by their insurance plans from many of the highest prices.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans taking prescription drugs reported that it was easy to afford their prescriptions, Kaiser found.
Both leading presidential candidates — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — have pledged to take new steps to address prescription drug pricing.
Clinton last year put out a detailed prescription drug agenda, which includes allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices and al- lowing Americans to import cheaper drugs from abroad.
Trump’s health care proposals are far less detailed, though the businessman has also voiced support for allowing Americans to import less expensive drugs.
The Kaiser poll, which was conducted from Sept. 14 to Sept. 20, surveyed 1,204 adults nationwide and has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.