• Polling

Americans Want to See Policymakers Push For Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 By Ian Smith
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Poll: Messaging on Health Care

This Navigator Research report contains polling data on which political party is more trusted to handle a number of issues related to health care, perceptions of health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, the top concerns Americans have about what pharmaceutical companies are doing in Washington, and how appealing Americans find members of Congress who support bringing down prescription drug costs.

Health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have net negative favorability despite seeing some improvement in recent years.


Health insurance companies have a narrow net -4 negative favorability rating (45 percent favorable – 49 percent unfavorable), while pharmaceutical companies are significantly further underwater at net -25 (34 percent favorable – 59 percent unfavorable). However, both have seen net 14-point upticks in their favorability ratings since October 2019, including health insurance companies improving from net -18 to net -4 and pharmaceutical companies improving from net -39 to net -25.

Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Pharmaceutical Companies Are Viewed More Negatively Than Health Insurance Companies, Though Both Are Underwater

Americans have deep concerns about pharmaceutical companies, especially around companies raking in record profits while patients can’t afford medicine.


Among a list of criticisms some people have made of what pharmaceutical companies are doing in Washington, the top concern was that “the five biggest U.S. pharmaceutical companies made $80 billion in profits in 2022 alone, while millions of Americans can’t afford the medicine they need” (90 percent found this statement to be concerning, including 71 percent who found it to be “very” concerning). Concern was consistent across partisanship, including 94 percent of Democrats, 89 percent of independents, and 87 percent of Republicans expressing some concern. Other top concerns included that:

  • They have spent $400 million on lobbyists to oppose the plan that lowered prescription drug prices (85 percent found this statement concerning, including 62 percent who found it to be “very” concerning);
  • They are suing the government to prevent Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices (80 percent found this statement concerning, including 56 percent who found it to be “very” concerning); and,
  • They have 1,700 lobbyists, which means 3 lobbyists for every member of Congress (80 percent found this statement concerning, including 52 percent who found it to be “very” concerning).
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Most Concerning on Pharmaceutical Companies: Their Record Profits While Americans Continue to Pay High Prices

Strongest health care positioning: bring down prescription drug costs.


The strongest messages on making prescription drugs more affordable focus on stopping price gouging by pharmaceutical companies and lowering costs because Americans are paying more for the same drugs than people in other countries. 70 percent of Americans find it “very” appealing when a member of Congress expresses a desire to “make sure no American has to choose between affording prescription drugs and paying for food and housing,” including more than four in five Democrats (83 percent), two in three independents (67 percent), and nearly three in five Republicans (58 percent). Similarly, 69 percent of Americans find it “very” appealing if their member of Congress supports “lowering the costs of prescription drugs, because Americans pay three to four times more than people do for the same drugs in other countries.”

Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Strongest Health Care Positioning: Bringing Down Prescription Drug Costs

People agree drug prices should come down, not that the government is spending too much money or stifling innovation and new cures.


In head-to-head statement tests, Americans overwhelmingly agree more with a statement that “people can’t afford their medicines while drug companies are making record-breaking profits… reforms to the system that take away the advantages for the drug companies — ending their monopolies and their tax giveaways — will bring down costs for Americans” over conservative arguments that “government price controls will mean less investment in cures” (the pro-reforms argument wins by 64 points, 82 percent to 18 percent) or that “we can’t keep spending on wasteful health care programs that get in the way of the free market system” (the pro-reforms argument wins by 62 points, 81 percent to 19 percent).

Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Bringing Down Prescription Drug Costs Dramatically Beats Messaging on the Free Market/Government Spending

Biden and Democrats are more trusted than Republicans on a range of health care issues.


President Biden and Democrats hold double-digit trust advantages over Republicans to handle making prescription drugs more affordable and to handle Social Security and Medicare. By 19 points, a majority of Americans trust President Biden and Democrats more to make prescription drugs more affordable than Republicans (51 percent Biden/Democrats – 32 percent Republicans), including by 17 points among independents. Biden and Democrats also hold trust advantages over Republicans on handling Social Security and Medicare by 10 points (47 percent Biden/Democrats – 37 percent Republicans), including among independents by 10 points, and to stand up to drug companies that dramatically increase drug prices by 9 points (45 percent Biden/Democrats – 36 percent Republicans), including among independents by 7 points.

Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Biden and Democrats Are More Trusted to Keep Prescription Drug Costs Down, Protect Social Security and Medicare

Four in Five Support Cracking Down on Rent Gouging

Polling data on housing, including the share who blame greedy landlords for rent gouging, and what policies Americans would like to see enacted to lower housing costs.

More Than Four in Five Say Cracking Down on Corporate Greed Should Be a Priority

Polling data on how government should deal with inflation, and support for recent labor and consumer protection actions implemented or proposed by the Biden administration.

Two in Three Blame Oil Companies for Rising Gas Prices

Polling data on which industries are seen as most prone to corporate greed and who Americans trust to decide tax rates.

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted a public opinion survey among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from April 18-April 22, 2024. 100 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 75 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters. The survey was conducted online, recruiting respondents from an opt-in online panel vendor. Respondents were verified against a voter file and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of our sample matched that of the national registered voter population across a variety of demographic variables.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org