9 in 10 Americans concerned pharma will use COVID-19 pandemic to raise drug prices

Fears abound of COVID-19 crisis worsening affordability challenges of US healthcare system
18-Jun-2020 1:55 PM EDT, by West Health Institute

Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. and SAN DIEGO, CA -- Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. adults are "very" (55%) or "somewhat" (33%) concerned that the pharmaceutical industry will leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to raise drug prices. Similarly, 84% are very or somewhat concerned that the general cost of care will rise, and 79% are very or somewhat concerned their health insurance premiums will go up in response to the pandemic. In each of the latter two scenarios, 41% of Americans are very concerned.

The new findings, released today by the nonprofit West Health and Gallup as part of ongoing research on the rising cost of healthcare in the U.S., come from a nationally representative survey of 1,016 U.S. adults. Amid a mounting death toll, the results underline the knife-edge fears associated with paying for care in the U.S.

Fears related to the cost impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic vary by demographic subgroup. Most Americans, regardless of gender, race, income or political identity, believe drug prices will rise. However, there is less consensus regarding rising insurance premiums and healthcare costs.

Among key demographic differences: 

  • Fifty-seven percent of women are very concerned about rising drug prices, compared with 52% of men. 
  • Nearly half of women (48%) are very concerned about the general cost of care rising, compared with 33% of men. 
  • Fifty percent of nonwhites are very concerned about the general cost of care rising, compared with 36% of whites. 
  • Forty-six percent of women are very concerned about rising insurance premiums, compared with 37% of men. 
  • Forty-seven percent of nonwhites are very concerned about rising insurance premiums, compared with 38% of whites. 
  • Forty-nine percent of households making less than $40,000 a year are very concerned about rising insurance premiums, compared with 37% of those making between $40,000 and $100,000. However, those making more than $100,000 a year express greater concern (41%). 
  • Democrats (66%) are more likely to say they are very concerned about rising drug prices than are independents (52%) or Republicans (49%).

"Concerns loom large that when the pandemic is all over, Big Pharma and insurance companies will revert to old patterns and behaviors and continue to squeeze Americans with ever-higher drug prices and insurance premiums," said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health. "If history is any guide, these concerns are well-founded, which is why promises to rein in prices are not enough. We need to retool our healthcare system and enact smart legislation now."

Amid concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic could raise healthcare costs, a large majority of Americans support the federal government directly negotiating the price of a treatment for the disease with the drug manufacturer. Eighty-eight percent of U.S. adults support this intervention, with very little daylight between Democrats (91%), independents (87%) and Republicans (89%).

Perceptions of the U.S. Response to COVID-19

As countries, including the U.S., continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic and look ahead to a potential second wave of infections, Americans hold dim views of how their country has responded so far. Relative to how much the U.S. spends on healthcare, 9% of respondents rate the U.S. response as "excellent" and another 14% as "very good." In contrast, 34% rate the response as "poor" and 23% as "fair."

These perceptions are inversely related to both education and income. For example, among those with postgraduate degrees, 72% evaluate the response as fair or poor, compared with 49% of those whose education was high school or less. Political identity also greatly informs perspectives, with 84% of Democrats evaluating the response as fair or poor, compared to 28% of Republicans.

"Americans are clearly worried about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic well beyond being exposed to or spreading the disease," said Dan Witters, Gallup senior researcher. "Still, their misgivings regarding pharmaceutical companies and general anxieties regarding the cost of care are tempered by a clear, bipartisan call to policymakers to get involved to ensure that the public will be able to afford a treatment for COVID-19."

The new findings come from a nationally representative survey of 1,016 U.S. adults conducted between May 11 and May 22, 2020. Respondents represent all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Full results, including a complete methodology statement, can be found at the link below: https://news.gallup.com/poll/312641/nine-concerned-rising-drug-costs-due-covid.aspx


About Gallup

Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.

About West Health

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2816
access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 6-Aug-2020 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 5-Aug-2020 4:25 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 6-Aug-2020 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise:Video Embedded uab-department-of-pathology-develops-strategy-to-support-guidesafe-entry-testing-process-more-than-200-000-samples
Released: 5-Aug-2020 4:10 PM EDT
UAB Department of Pathology develops strategy to support GuideSafe™ Entry Testing, process more than 200,000 samples
University of Alabama at Birmingham

This strategy will allow for ramping up testing capacity tenfold for the next 20-plus days leading up to the start of school.

Newswise: 239458_web.jpg
Released: 5-Aug-2020 2:50 PM EDT
New findings on enzymes with important role in SARS-CoV-2 infection
Uppsala University

Researchers at Uppsala University have described the presence, throughout the human body, of the enzyme ACE2.

Newswise: Button Project Lets Children See the Faces Behind the Masks
Released: 5-Aug-2020 2:50 PM EDT
Button Project Lets Children See the Faces Behind the Masks
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

When COVID-19 cases began rising in Nashville, masking became a regular part of life across Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital as one of several public health safety measures to protect employees and patients from potential COVID-19 exposure. Children’s Hospital decided to get creative to ensure that the 1,700 children and families who visit the hospital and clinics each day can see that the same friendly faces they’ve always known still exist behind the masks.

Newswise: 239490_web.jpg
Released: 5-Aug-2020 1:45 PM EDT
Massey scientist suggests COVID-19 should be treated as an acute inflammatory disease
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on global infrastructure sectors, including economic, political, health care, education and research systems, and there is still no definitive treatment strategy for the disease.

Newswise: Helping protect medical professionals
Released: 5-Aug-2020 1:05 PM EDT
Helping protect medical professionals
Sandia National Laboratories

A media comprised of a sandwich of materials, tested by Sandia National Laboratories, is being manufactured into N95-like respirators that could be used in local medical facilities. The project originated from the urgent need for personal protective equipment when the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Released: 5-Aug-2020 12:50 PM EDT
UCI scientists get ‘initial hit’ in developing drug to treat COVID-19
University of California, Irvine

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 5, 2020 – When the coronavirus pandemic hit, almost everyone at the University of California, Irvine – and colleges across the nation – had to abandon campus. But James Nowick, professor of chemistry, was not a part of that exodus. That’s because his lab, which designs and constructs chemical molecules, had the right equipment to help in the global push to find treatments for COVID-19.

Showing results

110 of 2816