Memo: Voters Support a Range of Actions to Reduce the Cost of Prescription Drugs

By Sean McElwee, co-founder of Data for Progress; Monika Nayak, analyst at YouGov Blue; John Ray, senior analyst at YouGov Blue.

The pharmaceutical industry consistently ranks as one of the most unpopular industries in the country. Drug companies are raking in record profits by denying people the medications we need to protect our health and indeed, our very lives. Between 2006 and 2015, annual drug company revenues soared from $534 billion to $775 billion.

The only way to curb big pharma’s greed is with radical solutions that directly take on patent monopolies, so that all of us can have the medications we need regardless of what’s in our wallets. Progressives in the Democratic Party, including presidential candidates, have introduced several bold plans to lower drug prices.

Executive Summary:

  • Among registered voters, each of the pharmaceutical industry reforms we posed polled at least at majority support. Each policy polled net positive support.

  • Support for these policies included net positive support among Republican voters on each of the policies we polled.

  • Each of these findings are resilient to explicit partisan framing, which for Democratic policies typically reduces net support for any policy considerably. In an experiment, we randomly assigned voters to see whether “Democrats” supported one position on medical reform while “Republicans” opposed the position, or to see that “Supporters” held one position and “Opponents” held the other. Though the partisan framing had large effects, respondents overall continued to strongly favor pharmaceutical industry reforms.