Poll: Most Americans oppose plan to speed development of drugs, medical devices

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Most Americans are opposed to a move under way in Congress to speed up the process for developing new drugs and medical devices, according to a new poll of U.S. adults by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and STAT.

Those polled were told that new regulations under consideration—the 21st Century Cures Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and a similar package in the U.S. Senate—would help make new drugs and devices available faster to patients, but could also increase the risk that therapies with harmful side effects or ones that are less effective could be approved for public use.

The poll also found:

  • Most respondents don’t believe the proposed changes would lower drug prices for consumers, as has been suggested by the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Most are skeptical of a plan that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve drugs from designated countries, saying that the FDA should conduct its own reviews rather than relying on the testing of other nations.
  • Most are strongly in favor of removing prescription drug advertisements from television.
  • Men were more likely than women to support faster approvals of drugs and devices.

“There is a cautiousness about safety and efficacy here that people hadn’t realized before,” said Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard Chan School, in a May 11, 2016 Boston Globe article. Blendon oversaw the poll.