For immediate release: April 12, 2018
Altarum's Healthcare Value Hub:
Statewide Poll Shows Residents Worried About High Drug Costs - Support Strong Government Action Across Party Lines
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut released the results of a poll that shows state residents' concerns about prescription drug affordability and bipartisan support for government action. The poll was conducted by Altarum's Healthcare Value Hub in early February. Over 900 Connecticut adults responded.
A data brief summarizing the poll's results, prepared by the Healthcare Value Hub, was distributed at a press conference on Thursday. It shows that Connecticut residents are worried they won't be able to afford the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy. It also reports strong support across party lines for a range of government actions to curb rising prescription drug prices.
“The poll shows very clearly that Connecticut residents want action, regardless of their political affiliation. They should not have to choose between taking their medications as prescribed and putting food on the table,” said Frances Padilla, President, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut.
Lynn Quincy, Director of the Healthcare Value Hub, noted that the poll results, “are strongly aligned with other national polls showing grave consumer worry about healthcare affordability with particular concerns about drug costs.”
Key Findings of the Poll
Poll respondents showed strong support for a variety of suggested strategies
for addressing high prescription drug costs.
The poll showed that these opinions were very similar across party lines.
Remarks from the Press Conference
Laura Hoch, Manager of Advocacy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, spoke about the rising medication prices individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) face. “The National MS Society and its constituents are deeply concerned by the fact that access to many medications has become so cost-prohibitive. We must act to ensure that those living with MS and other chronic illnesses are able to afford life-saving prescription drugs in a transparent process.”
Ross Kristal, MD, Yale Primary Care Residency Program and Copello Fellow, National Physicians Alliance, said, “I’ve seen firsthand the consequences of unfair prescription drug pricing.” He spoke about a patient he treated recently who has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): “Her breathing was so bad that at one point she had to be treated in the intensive care unit.” When she was discharged from the hospital, a good plan was in place that included the use of several inhaler medications. “Days later she was admitted again to the hospital for the same reason because she could not afford to purchase the inhalers. People in this state should not have to pay inordinate amounts of money to simply breathe,” said Dr. Kristal.
Speaking on behalf of Connecticut physicians, Matthew Katz, Executive Vice
President, Connecticut State Medical Society, referring to the poll result that
shows that 20% of poll respondents are not taking their drugs as prescribed due
to cost concerns, said, “Most troubling, and something that concerns physicians
the most, is the significant increase in patients who do not fill prescriptions
because of the high cost. This is unacceptable and exactly the reason we are
Public Officials Welcomed the Information The Poll Provides
Senator Len Fasano said, “For several years I have been honored to work with Senator Looney to implement significant health care reforms in Connecticut with bipartisan support. Last year our efforts resulted in Connecticut passing legislation that we hope will lead our nation in banning gag clauses that prevent pharmacists from sharing price information with patients and eliminating claw backs that result in patients paying more than a prescription actually costs. This survey released today confirms that concerns about the rising cost of prescription drugs cross party lines, and there is bipartisan support for legislative action. When one out of five respondents reports skipping their medication or cutting pills in half to save money, we know we have a problem. I want to thank the Universal Health Care Foundation for their work on these issues and look forward to continuing to work with Senator Looney and others to make health care, including potentially lifesaving and necessary prescription drugs, affordable and accessible for Connecticut residents.”
Comptroller Kevin Lembo said, “This report proves what we already know – that
the vast majority of consumers, no matter their political affiliation, demand
action on prescription drug pricing reform. We have developed a plan, now
progressing in the state legislature, to deliver financial relief directly to
consumers at the pharmacy counter. This plan, to deliver drug pricing
transparency for the first time in Connecticut, will shine a bright light onto a
shadowy market and extend free-market fairness to the pharmaceutical
marketplace. The journey between drug manufacturer and consumer is a long one –
dotted with many deals, payments and wealth exchange along the way. As if the
consumer cost at the counter wasn’t enough, most of us are paying massive, often
inexplicable, drug price markups without even realizing it – through our
insurance premiums, our taxes and in the cost of doing business with any
employer. We must establish a state review process to answer essential
questions: Is there a rationalization for sending drug costs skyward – by
sometimes hundreds or even thousands of percent – for drugs on the market for
sometimes years? Are these profits fueling research and development? If so, then
here’s an opportunity to demonstrate that.”
About Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
About the Healthcare Value Hub