U.S. Adults Desire Ongoing Review of Pharmaceuticals

surevyROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. adults are calling for information on and oversight of the pharmaceutical industry. According to a recent Harris Poll, close to three out of four (71%) adults believe that it is very or highly important that pharmaceutical drugs, even after they are made available to the public, remain under close review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and drug companies. An additional one in five (20%) says that it is important that the drugs remain under close review. Only nine percent say it is only somewhat or not very important. Of note, the FDA currently has a process in place to conduct post-marketing surveillance of drugs (however, respondents were not asked whether or not they are familiar with this).

Furthermore, many Americans are demonstrating consumerism by proactively seeking out information on drug safety. About four in 10 (41%) indicate that they always or often seek information on drug safety for themselves and/or family members. One-third (35%) say they sometimes seek out information on drug safety and just one-quarter (24%) rarely or never seek out this information.

These are the results of a Harris Poll of 2,429 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive® between November 13 and 20, 2006.

As one might expect, there are some age differences that emerge when looking at this data. While about three-quarters (74%) of Baby Boomers (those ages 42 to 60) and 71 percent of Matures (those 61 and older) say it is highly or very important for drugs to remain under close review by the FDA and drug companies, less than two-thirds (64%) of Echo Boomers (those ages 18 to 29) feel this way. Surprisingly, almost three-quarters (73%) of Generation Xers (those ages 30 to 41) feel it is highly or very important for this close review to remain. One may have thought that their attitudes would fall closer towards that of the younger generation rather than to the Baby Boomers.

The public's desire for drug safety information and their belief that drugs should remain under continued review by the FDA and drug companies indicates that Americans may have concerns regarding the full safety profile of all drugs. These questions on safety may be negatively affecting their impressions of the industry. As cited in April's Harris Poll on Industry Images, "While the health care industries are mostly up from last year, they are still much lower than they were nine years ago. Pharmaceuticals are 35 points lower than they were (down from 60 points positive in 1997 to 25 points positive now)."(1)

Ultimately, the findings of these surveys continue to highlight the need for drug companies to build and maintain consumer confidence as a key component of their overall corporate reputation.

(1) Harris Poll #31, April 25, 2006

Table 1

"In your opinion, how important is it that drugs remain under close review by the FDA and drug companies after they have become available to the public?"

    Base: All Adults
Total Echo Boomers Gen X Baby Boomers Matures
(18-29) (30-41) (42-60) (61+)
% % % % %
Important (Net) 71 64 73 74 71
Highly important 39 38 41 41 34
Very important 32 26 32 33 37
Important 20 23 19 19 21
Not important (Net) 9 13 7 7 9
Somewhat important 7 11 7 5 7
Not very important 1 1 1 1 2

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Table 2
"How often do you seek out information on drug safety for yourself, a family member, or someone you provide care for?"

Base: All Adults

Total Echo Boomers Gen X Baby Boomers Matures
(18-29) (30-41) (42-60) (61+)
% % % % %
Frequently (Net) 41 28 39 46 48
Always 17 12 15 22 18
Often 24 17 25 24 30
Sometimes 35 38 34 35 36
Infrequently (Net) 24 34 27 19 16
Rarely 19 27 22 16 13
Never 4 7 4 3 3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
Frequently = Always and often; Infrequently = Rarely and Never


The Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States between November 13 and 20, 2006 among 2,429 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, non-response (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 2,429 adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 2 percentage points. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Harris Poll® #89, December 21, 2006
By Jo Tarrant, VP Brand and Strategy Consulting and Kenneth Tomaszewski,
Ph.D., Sr. VP Health Care Research
Q 715, 720

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions, which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

via Yahoo