Is the other shoe about to drop on prescription drug pricing?

A new survey from Harris Interactive suggests that one reason the cost of medical care and prescription drugs are under the microscope is that Americans do not expect things to be much more expensive



A new survey from Harris Interactive suggests that one reason the cost of medical care and prescription drugs are under the microscope is that Americans do not expect things to be much more expensive at home than abroad. But the majority of American adults now believe prescription drugs (58%) and medical care (55%) are more expensive in the United States than in Europe. And that is in sharp contrast to the relatively low numbers who think gasoline (14%), food (11%), clothes (14%), computers (11%) and automobiles (21%) are more expensive in America than in Europe.

According to Harris Interactive, that means Americans see healthcare and prescription drug prices as a blatant exception to their pricing expectations, putting the debate front and center on the political and public policy stage. And with the debate at the forefront, Harris predicts it won'st be long before the more than 40% of Americans who are not already aware that they are paying more for healthcare and prescription drugs than their European counterparts are about to find out.

One key constituent group that is painfully aware of the price differentials, however, is American consumers over 65. Harris reports that 70% of U.S. seniors know that prescription drugs costs more at home than in Europe and 49% are aware that they cost much more domestically. And it's a given that elderly Americans are more likely to vote and less likely to forget healthcare issues when they go to the polls than younger voters.

It's clear the other shoe is about to drop in the prescription drug pricing debate in America. And the sound is likely to ring in the pharmaceutical industry's ears for some time to come.


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