Most Americans Are Worried Pharmaceutical Companies Will Cash in on the Pandemic and Raise Drug Prices

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According to new Gallup and West Health polling, which surveyed 1,016 U.S. adults in mid-May, nine in 10 U.S. adults are “very” (55 percent) or “somewhat” (33 percent) concerned that pharmaceutical companies will exploit the pandemic and raise drug prices. Democrats were most likely to be concerned (66 percent), well ahead of independents (52 percent), and Republicans (49 percent).

Additionally, 79 percent said they are somewhat concerned about seeing their health insurance premiums rise. 84 percent expressed concern about the cost of care rising in general. 41 percent said they were concerned about each.

“Differences in key demographic groups are more readily apparent with concerns over rising costs of health insurance and care generally. Nearly half of women (48%), for example, are very concerned about the general cost of care rising, compared with 33% of men,” Gallup notes. “Also, 50% of nonwhites are very concerned, compared with 36% of whites. Across all three measures, Democrats report the highest levels of concern by political identity.

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A table of the survey results is included below.

Gallup.

There is significant support across all demographics for government negotiation of COVID-19 drug prices, too, with 88 percent saying they would support such an approach.

“Concerns loom large that when the pandemic is all over, Big Pharma and insurance companies will revert to old patterns and behaviors and continue to squeeze Americans with ever-higher drug prices and insurance premiums,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health. “If history is any guide, these concerns are well-founded, which is why promises to rein in prices are not enough. We need to retool our healthcare system and enact smart legislation now.”

Most Americans are dissatisfied with the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with 34 percent saying it’s “poor” and 23 percent saying it’s “fair.” Just nine percent rated it “excellent.” 14 percent say the United States’s response to the crisis has been “very good.”

“Americans are clearly worried about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic well beyond being exposed to or spreading the disease,” said Dan Witters, who is Gallup’s senior researcher. “Still, their misgivings regarding pharmaceutical companies and general anxieties regarding the cost of care are tempered by a clear, bipartisan call to policymakers to get involved to ensure that the public will be able to afford a treatment for COVID-19.”