WASHINGTON, D.C. and SAN DIEGO, CA – June 2, 2021 — More than 80% of likely voters in Arizona, Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia support legislation that empowers Medicare to negotiate lower prices directly with drug companies, according to new surveys conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization West Health and the polling and public affairs firm, Global Strategy Group (GSG). The surveys of 600 likely voters in each of the four states were conducted between April 29 and May 4, 2021.
Democrats hope to authorize Medicare negotiation through the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), but Republicans and the pharmaceutical industry have been fiercely opposed claiming such a measure would hurt drug innovation and market competition. Nonetheless, 80% of likely voters in West Virginia, 75% in New Jersey and Arizona, and 60% in Delaware, would even support tax penalties if drug companies fail to negotiate with Medicare.
“High prescription drug prices remain a significant and growing burden for families all across America,” said Tim Lash, Chief Strategy Officer for West Health. “The time has come to change course with legislation that has some teeth and finally puts patients over profits.”
According to the surveys, about one-third of voters in Arizona and West Virginia (33% and 37%, respectively) did not seek treatment for a health problem in the last year due to the high cost of care. The numbers, though somewhat lower, were also troubling in New Jersey (24%) and Delaware (18%). Roughly 30% of voters in each of the states also said they could not afford medications prescribed by their doctors.
Despite its work on vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the high cost of medications may have offset any reputational gains for drug companies. In all four states voters report that their opinions of the pharmaceutical industry have worsened or not changed in the last year – overwhelming majorities exist in West Virginia (83%), Delaware (78%) and Arizona (70%). Even in New Jersey, known as the “Medicine Chest of the World” 59% of voters have unaffected or less favorable opinions of the industry.
The findings are from a multi-channel survey of 2,422 likely general election voters in Arizona, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia. Interviews were conducted by live telephone and via web-based panel. Interviews conducted via web-based panel were matched back to a corresponding voter file. The confidence interval is +/- 3.9% within each state. Topline data and individualized state reports can be found below:
About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at www.westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.
About Global Strategy Group
Global Strategy Group is the go-to public affairs, communications, and research partner for companies, causes, and campaigns. We work with our clients to build their reputations, tackle big challenges, drive positive change, and win.