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Nine in 10 Americans concerned big pharma will use COVID-19 to raise drug prices

A survey of US adults has revealed that the majority are very or somewhat worried that big pharma will take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to increase the price of drugs.

Big pharma drug prices

A new study has found that almost nine out of 10 US adults are ‘very’ (55 percent) or ‘somewhat’ (33 percent) concerned that the pharmaceutical industry will leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to increase drug prices. Similarly, 84 percent are very or somewhat concerned that the general cost of care will rise and 79 percent 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 percent of Americans are very concerned.

The research, conducted by the non-profit West Health and Gallup, come from a nationally representative survey of 1,016 US adults. 

According to the study, there were key findings among the key demographic differences:

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

“Concerns loom large that when the pandemic is all over, big pharma and insurance companies will revert to old patterns and behaviours 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. 

The findings can be found here

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