Public opinion of pharma companies improving despite rising drug costs, poll finds

Pharmaceutical companies have seen a sharp increase in positive public opinion over the past year, despite the fact that drug costs are rising, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In January 2020, only tobacco companies had a worse public opinion rating than the pharmaceutical industry, according to the Harris Poll, the Inquirer reported. This January, 62 percent of people had a positive opinion of pharmaceutical companies, up from 32 percent the year before. 

Many people have likely changed their view of pharmaceutical companies after seeing them work together to develop and deliver COVID-19 vaccines, the Inquirer reported. Brian Newell, a spokesperson for PhRMA, a leading pharmaceutical industry group, told the Inquirer that drugmakers have taken an opportunity during the pandemic to highlight the science behind prescription drugs. 

Drug prices have continued to rise throughout the pandemic. Drugmakers increased prices for 832 drugs by an average of 4.5 percent so far in 2021, according to GoodRx. In January 2020, 639 drugs saw price increases an average of 6 percent. 

Mr. Newell told the Inquirer PhRMA hopes there's now "an opportunity to work with policymakers on smart, patient-centered solutions that lower the cost of prescription drugs and protect the ability to continue developing new cures and treatments."

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