Half of patients say medical treatments 'create as many problems as they solve'

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Forty-eight percent of U.S. adults believe medical treatments are "worth the costs because they allow people to live longer and better quality lives," but 51 percent think these treatments "often create as many problems as they solve," a recent Pew Research Center survey found.

The findings stem from a survey conducted as part of the American Trends Panel, a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults. The researchers recruited respondents from landline and cellphone random digit-dial surveys.

Data in this report are drawn from the panel wave conducted April 23 to May 6, which included 2,537 respondents.

Five survey findings:

1. The survey found 90 percent of Americans think science has had a mostly positive effect on healthcare quality.

2. Although respondents were closely divided in how they view the overall value of medical treatments, most respondents (83 percent), regardless of their income, said a big issue is that the high cost of medical treatments makes quality care unaffordable.

3. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said "people rely too much on prescription medicines that may not be necessary," and 59 percent say a big problem with medical treatments is the side effects of prescription medicines create as many problems as they solve.

4. About half of respondents (49 percent) said a big problem is the slow pace in assessing how safe and effective medical treatments are.

5. Forty-six percent of respondents said a big issue is healthcare providers are too quick to order tests and procedures that may be unnecessary.

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