Americans Overwhelmingly Agree with President Trump That Prescription Drug Prices Are Too High, New Prescription Justice Poll Finds

  • Posted at: 21 Feb 2017
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Favor change to allow importation

90 Percent Favor Changes to Keep Skyrocketing Costs Down

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 21, 2017) — Americans agree with President Donald Trump that prescription drug prices in the United States are excessively high and support government action to bring down costs for consumers, per a new poll by Prescription Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to lowering drug prices in America and advocating on behalf of the millions of Americans who already access affordable imported medications.

The poll, conducted by Zogby Analytics for Prescription Justice, found that 75 percent of all Americans agree with President Trump that pharmaceutical companies are “getting away with murder” when it comes to drug pricing. Trump made the comment shortly before his inauguration and promised to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, a policy supported by Prescription Justice.

The president’s statements have reinvigorated the policy debate and calls for action surrounding prescription drug prices in the wake of news stories highlighting exorbitant prices hikes on drugs such as the EpiPen, the AIDS drug Daraprim, the lifesaving opioid overdose treatment Evzio, and Emflaza, which treats Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Just last week, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wrote to new Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price urging him to use his executive power to certify importation of prescription drugs from Canada under certain circumstances, including for “significant and unexplained increases in price.”

As the poll shows, nearly one in three Americans have not filled a prescription at some point in their lives because of the cost, and 25 percent say they have had to make choice between filling a prescription and paying for other necessities like food or housing costs.

“Americans are tired of being charged astronomical prices by pharmaceutical companies for both lifesaving and routine medications,” said Jodi Dart, executive director of Prescription Justice. “As our poll found, too many Americans are going without needed treatments because of the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. We encourage President Trump and members of Congress to make good on their promises to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable so that consumers can regularly afford prescriptions that in many cases can mean the difference between life and death.”

Prescription Justice’s poll shows that there is substantial support for both executive and congressional solutions to the high price of prescription drugs. Nearly 90 percent favor some change to the system regulating prescription drugs in order to control costs, with 45.5 percent saying the system needs a “major overhaul” and 44.4 percent saying the system needs modest reforms to keep prices reasonable. Additionally, 77 percent of respondents who registered an opinion support changing federal law to allow consumers to import medication for personal use.

A report published by Prescription Justice calls on President Trump to use his executive authority, as provided under current law, to give American consumers express permission to import medications for personal use via the safest international online pharmacies.

About 79 percent of Americans said prescription drug prices are too high, and nearly 52 percent believe that pharmaceutical companies engage in price gouging and put profits over patients.

Of those who supported changing the law to expressly allow personal importation from international pharmacies, 52 percent cited prescription drug costs and 34 percent said consumers should be allowed to make their own healthcare decisions.

In addition, the poll found that 11 percent of respondents have ordered medications from a Canadian or other international online pharmacy, and 83% of people who buy from international pharmacies said their primary motivations were cost savings, better access to medications, or any access at all, as importation was the only option they could afford.

Prescription Justice is a non-profit organization that brings together doctors, lawyers, public health advocates, and companies dedicated to helping people afford medication. Prescription Justice advocates for legislative and policy reforms to allow personal prescription importation, permitting Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and ending “pay to delay” activities by pharmaceutical companies that prevent lower cost generics from coming to market.

The poll was conducted by Zogby Analytics February 2nd through the 4th and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.