Drug Prices Are Up, And That Might Be Why Consumer Commitment to Prescriptions is Way Down

drug-prices-are-upNonprofit The Kaiser Family Foundation recently conducted a survey shows that most Americans are in favor of government intervention to reduce prescription drug prices.

No surprise there, right?

Perhaps the only real shocker is that in a time when the country seems remarkably split over politics, approximately 86 percent of the country supports new requirements that will force drug companies to release information on how they set their extremely high prices.

“Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents both favor and think several policy actions would be effective in keeping prescription drug costs down, suggesting that some sort of policy action would appeal to people across the nation,” explains Kaiser polling overseer Mollyann Brodie.
Looking more closely at the poll, 1,204 American adults took part. Of this sample population, 77 percent agree that drug costs are not only too high, but unreasonably so. This is up from 72 percent from the same poll last year. In addition, though, at least another 26 percent reported having trouble paying for the medicine they need.

In regards to the findings, the study authors wrote: “There is widespread support for a variety of actions in order to keep costs down.”

Of course, a large part of this controversy has a lot to do with the massive price increase of Mylan’s EpiPen, recently. While this is certainly not the first drug to see huge spikes in retail price, it is one of the most remarkable, particularly because the purpose of the EpiPen is as a last-line emergency intervention. Its purpose is to save a life in the event of an extreme anaphylactic episode. This drug is now roughly five times more expensive than it was only five or six years ago.

But the study also suggests more than just consumer dissatisfaction with price. The study might also serve to explain why prescription drug shares are in decline in the United States. Indeed, the study authors comment: “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.” More specifically, prescription drug shares have fallen from 73 percent in 2008 to 62 percent last year, reaching 56 percent, today.

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