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Guest Opinion: Taking Action on the Price of Prescription Drugs: A Winning Formula


By: Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber

Read the original post on LinkedIn here.

Ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections, new data offers important insights for candidates revealing that voters overwhelmingly hold drug manufacturers responsible for high and rising drug prices and want action to bring these skyrocketing prices down.

To first start out with some context, inflation and the rising cost of living have dominated news headlines in recent months – both of which will almost certainly be top of mind for Americans as they head to the polls in November. Indeed, in an online survey we recently conducted, more than 80% of voters say they are extremely or very concerned about these issues. Economic anxiety is a powerful motivator for voters to demand policy solutions.

Inflation is the result of a number of complex economic variables. No individual piece of legislation or executive action has ever definitively ended a period of increasing inflation.

However, our recent survey does identify an issue on which Congress could take action and assuage voter concerns about rising costs: the increasing price of prescription drugs set by manufacturers.

More than two-thirds of voters believe it is extremely or very important for Congress and the President to take action on the issue of drug pricing. Taking action to reduce the cost of an item that is a permanent fixture in the budget for millions of Americans would be a valuable use of precious legislative time. In fact, there is strong majority support for action on this issue across party lines, including a plurality of Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

Importantly, not only do voters want action, but they clearly know who to blame for high and rising drug prices. When given a range of choices, 64% of likely voters think prescription drug manufacturers are the entity most responsible or next most responsible for setting the price of prescription drugs. No other entity offered is even in double digits as a first choice. Overall, drug manufacturers are 38 points ahead of the next closest entities. Voters have clear views about whom to hold responsible and will be unsatisfied by policy solutions that do not address drug companies’ high and rising prices.

Economically anxious voters will want assurances that efforts are being made to lower the price of staples of their budget like prescription drugs. Opposing efforts that are aimed at lowering costs like the work of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) is not a place any politician facing voters in November will want to be.

Every candidate seeking election in November should have an answer on their views about curbing inflation. Being able to demonstrate and explain their support for groups working to lower the price of prescription drugs and how they are looking to address drug manufacturer’s high prices will be an important response to have ready, too.