Poll: Most want prescription-drug costs reined in on some level

Findings from the August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, released this week, indicated that 54 percent of Americans were currently taking a prescription drug, and 72 percent said their prescriptions were very or somewhat easy to afford.

However, 24 percent of respondents said paying for their drugs is a challenge. Financial problems increased among those with low incomes or those currently taking four or more prescription drugs, with difficulties the highest among those in fair or poor health.

The poll expanded on earlier findings that looked at prescription-drug costs. The new poll found strong majorities of the public supported a wide range of potential policy actions to lower the costs of prescription drugs:

• Eighty-six percent supported requiring drug companies to release information on how they set prices.
• Eighty-three percent supported allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies to lower prices for those on Medicare.
• Seventy-six percent supported limiting how much drug companies can charge for high-cost drugs for illnesses such as hepatitis or cancer.
• Seventy-two percent supported allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs imported from Canada.

The poll was created and taken by Kaiser Family Foundation public-opinion researchers, who also analyzed the results. The poll was conducted Aug. 6-11 among a nationally representative random-digit-dial phone sample of 1,200 adults.

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