Poll: Americans want to rein in drug prices

Americans widely support various actions to keep drug costs down, according to a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The poll found 86 percent of Americans support requiring drug companies to release information to the public on how they set drug prices, and 82 percent want the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price on medications for Medicare beneficiaries. A similar number of Americans (78 percent) support limiting the amount drug companies can charge for high-cost drugs for illnesses like hepatitis or cancer.

Additionally, 71 percent of poll respondents support allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs imported from Canada and 66 percent support creating an independent group that oversees the pricing of prescription drugs.

The findings come in the wake of the news about the increase in cost of EpiPens. Manufacturers associated with the EpiPen device have drawn heavy criticism from consumers and lawmakers. Researchers surveyed 1,204 adults from Sept. 14-20, 2016.

The poll found that while the majority of Americans still believe prescription drugs have made lives better, this majority has decreased from 73 percent in March 2008 to 62 percent in August 2015. "Costs could be one reason why the share of Americans who say prescription drugs have made the lives of people in the U.S. better is declining," the poll takers wrote.

A majority (77 percent) of Americans believe prescription drug costs are unreasonable, up slightly from 72 percent a year ago, according to the poll.

Still, the poll found of the 55 percent of Americans who currently take medications, the majority (73 percent) said it's easy to afford to pay for the cost of their prescription medicine. However, 26 percent reported difficulty affording their medications.


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