Most U.S. Residents Favor Drug Price Negotiations
Eighty-five percent of U.S. residents support allowing government negotiation of prescription drug prices for the Medicare drug benefit, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released Friday, the Washington Post reports (Lee, Washington Post, 12/9). For the survey, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health polled a nationally representative sample of 1,867 adults from Nov. 9 through Nov. 19. The survey aimed to gauge U.S. residents' priorities and views on health issues as Democrats take control of Congress and the 2008 presidential campaign begins to form.
The survey found that 92% of Democrats, 85% of Independents and 74% of Republicans favor government negotiation of drug prices under Medicare. Eighty percent of U.S. residents believe drug price negotiations will reduce the cost of medications, while 31% believe it will result in less research and development by U.S. drug companies (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 12/8).
According to the Post, the survey's findings suggest "there will be considerable political pressure on the next Congress" to act on legislation that would allow government negotiations for Medicare drugs. Those who oppose such negotiations say government involvement "could be logistically difficult and would not necessarily lower drug prices," according to the Post.
In addition, opponents say that price negotiations could limit beneficiaries' choices of medications if some medications are favored over others to obtain discounts and that lobbyists might influence which drugs are available.
House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday said Democrats would pass legislation within the first 100 hours of the new Congress directing the Bush administration to use its bargaining power to negotiate Medicare drug discounts.
The Bush administration opposes efforts to require such negotiations (Lee, Washington Post, 12/9).
C-SPAN on Friday broadcast the release of the survey (C-SPAN, 12/8). Video of the segment is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.