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Reining in drug costs remains public’s top priority

Written by Diane Archer

A new Harvard-Politico poll shows that reining in drug costs remains the public’s top priority. More than anything else, Americans want Congress to bring down prescription drug costs.

The public opinion poll found that four in ten Americans believe that Congress needs to take action on drug costs. To be sure, a far larger percentage of  Democrats than Republicans supported this priority–more than half v. three in ten. But, Americans are far less sure about how to resolve the issue of high drug prices.

While there has been a lot of public attention on high drug prices, at both the state and federal levels, policymakers and advocates are promoting a wide range of solutions, virtually all of which involve either helping one subpopulation–e.g., people in Maryland, people needing the Hepatitis C vaccine, people with Medicare–or, addressing one piece of the problem–e.g., lack of generic drug competition, Orphan Drug Act.

Until there is agreement that Congress needs to rein in prescription drug prices across the board–a recognition that access to life-improving and life-saving drugs is a basic human right–Pharma will continue to spend tens of millions of dollars raising fear among different populations over how the proposal will jeopardize their access to drugs.

Not surprisingly, almost 90 percent of people support Medicare drug price negotiation in theory. But, fewer than 40 percent support the policy once they hear that  it could mean people with Medicare lose access to certain drugs.

Many people also support drug importation as a way to drive competition and bring down prices. More than half of Americans support importation of drugs that the FDA has not yet approved. After all, we import food with very few safety risks. Why not drugs?

If you want Congress to rein in drug prices, please sign this petition.

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