New poll finds majority of voters oppose government price-setting for prescription drugs

Robert Zirkelbach   |     September 23, 2015   |   SHARE THIS

Majority of voters (51 percent compared to 36 percent) oppose allowing the federal government to set the price of prescription medicines, a poll released today found.

The Morning Consult poll of 2,042 registered voters found most voters (49 percent compared to 23 percent) believe the private sector does a better job negotiating prescription drug prices than the government. Majorities say “patients access to medicines would be limited” (61 percent) and “fewer new medicines would be developed” (65 percent) if the government set the price of prescription medicines.'

Voter opposition to government price-setting extends to the Medicare prescription drug program. By a two–to-one margin (48 percent compared to 24 percent) voters said private Medicare plans should continue to negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical companies rather than changing the program to let the government set prices.


Looking ahead to the 2016 election, the vast majority of voters (86 percent) say “encouraging the development of new medicines” should be an important priority for the next president and congress. Further, a majority of voters (53 percent compared to 37 percent) say encouraging the development of new medicines should be more of a priority than reducing spending on prescription medicines, despite the latter being the focus of some candidates’ policy proposals.

The survey findings also reinforce Americans’ belief prescription medicines are critical to patient health:

  • 79 percent agree prescription medicines help patients live longer, healthier lives;
  • 77 percent agree prescription medicines help patients avoid other, potentially more costly health care; and
  • 75 percent agree prescription medicines help patients stay out of the hospital.


Finally, an important yet often overlooked detail in the drug cost debate is the extensive patient assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. More than 40 percent of respondents did not know companies have assistance programs that offer free or nearly free medicines to patients without insurance coverage. Knowing that biopharmaceutical companies offer medicines for free or nearly free, 41 percent were less likely to support government price controls for medicines.

Complete survey results are available online here: http://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/092315-Morning-Consult-Poll.pdf.

Topline findings can be found here: http://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/150907_topline_PR_v1_AP.pdf.

Read more about how our nation's competitive biopharmaceutical marketplace controls costs while encouraging the development of new treatments and cures here.



Robert Zirkelbach

Robert Zirkelbach Robert Zirkelbach is Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at PhRMA. He joined PhRMA in 2014 after working for seven years representing the health insurance industry. He likes Saturday afternoon BBQs on his deck, traveling, trying new restaurants, and attempting to play golf. He’s an avid, somewhat obsessive, Iowa Hawkeye fan and is lucky to have a wife that loves watching college football on Saturday afternoons.

Topics: Drug Cost

Search the Catalyst

View Posts by Topic

see all

View Posts by Contributor

View Posts by Date

see all

Subscribe to Email Updates