California Voters Support Drug Price Relief
Measure Says State Cannot Pay More for Drugs than the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that public reaction to the high cost of prescription drugs, and negative views of drug companies in general, will greatly benefit a California ballot initiative that will be on the November ballot. Californians say by a huge 77-13% split that they would vote “yes” on a proposal that would require drug companies to sell drugs to the state at the lowest prices they charge the federal government—the core policy proposal of the California Drug Price Relief Act.
The initiative is backed by a diverse, broad-based coalition of voters, including majorities of women, men, Democrats, Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans, and young voters (aged 18 to 29), and pluralities of Republicans, Independents, and seniors (voters older than 65).
Other key findings from the survey include:
- Voters are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the idea of lowering drug costs through state intervention. Californians – 61% of whom hold an unfavorable opinion of the pharmaceutical industry – agree by a 67-25% margin that it will ultimately take government intervention to get the escalating prices of prescription drugs under control.
- Interestingly, even though the California Drug Price Relief Act would involve action by state government in the drug market, this is not an issue that breaks along party lines, like such issues involving the government generally do. Lowering drug prices through state action has bipartisan support, with 84% of Democrats and 72% of Republicans in favor. 66% of Independent voters also support state action.
- Fully 58% of Republicans hold the pharmaceutical industry in low regard, 61% have heard about recent spikes in drug prices, 45% say they or their family has been directly affected by high drug prices, and 51% agree it will take some sort of government action to control drug prices. Even 69% of Mitt Romney voters in 2012 indicated they would vote for a measure empowering state government to take action against high drug prices.
- Women voters in particular, a majority of the California electorate, are upset about – and affected by – high drug prices. 63% of women say they have an unfavorable view of the drug companies. More than half – 51% – say they or a family member has been personally affected by the spike in drug prices. It’s not surprising, then, that 79% of women in the sample say they would vote to require drug companies to sell drugs to the state at the lowest prices they charge the federal government. And 71% say they believe government action will be necessary to get control of drug prices.
- In the survey, 56% of Latinos say they have been personally impacted by the run-up in prescription drug prices, and 79% say they would vote to require drug companies to sell drugs to the state at the lowest federal price. A large majority of Latinos, African Americans and Asians have a negative view of drug companies.
- A strong majority – 55% – of voters say they would be more likely to vote for the measure if they knew that the industry had already contributed $40 million to defeat the California Drug Price Relief Act.
PPP surveyed 1,173 California voters from January 22-24, 2016. The margin of error is +/-2.9%. This poll was conducted by automated telephone interviews, including cell phones.