Polls Offer Conflicting Numbers on Cipro Demand
A "tidal wave" of patients nationwide have asked their doctors about anthrax over the last few weeks, according to a recent poll by ImpactRx, which conducts research for the pharmaceutical industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the ImpactRx poll of 424 internists and primary care physicians who were identified as "writers of a large number of prescriptions," about 70% of primary care physicians have been asked questions about anthrax in the past few weeks. The physicians, who were paid for their responses, "split" on whether patient requests for prophylactic prescriptions of the antibiotic Cipro presented a "moral dilemma." Fifty-nine percent said prescribing the drug to "allay anthrax fears" was not a moral problem, while 41% said it was (Hensley, Wall Street Journal, 10/23). However, according to the most recent Gallup poll, only "very small numbers of Americans" have sought antibiotics or vaccines (Gallup release, 10/23). The poll of 1,006 adults found that only 2% of those surveyed had tried to get a vaccination for anthrax or smallpox, while 62% of American "haven't thought about" getting vaccinated. Also, few American are concerned that they or their families will be exposed to anthrax. While 7% are "very worried" about exposure, 31% are "not worried at all," and 35% are "not too worried." Still, more than half of those polled said they are "handling their mail more cautiously." The Gallup poll also asked about the government's ability to "respond effectively" to an outbreak of anthrax or smallpox. Regarding anthrax, 34% were "very confident," 43% were "somewhat confident" and 5% were "not at all confident." The poll found that Americans are less confident about the government's ability to respond to an outbreak of smallpox, as 27% said they were "very confident," 39% were "somewhat confident" and 10% were not confident "at all." The poll was conducted before reports on Monday of the deaths of two postal workers in Washington, D.C., that appear to be anthrax related (Benedetto, USA Today, 10/23).