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60 Plus Association
60 Plus Association
September 15, 2010

National Poll Finds Seniors, Women and Americans From Across the Political Spectrum Reject FDA’s Consideration of Cost in Drug Approval Process

63% of Americans oppose a pending FDA decision that bases cancer treatment options on cost; 71% are more likely to vote against candidates who support the FDA decision

(Washington, DC) – 60 Plus, a national seniors-advocacy organization, released findings from a national poll demonstrating that Americans reject efforts by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include “cost factors” as part of the drug approval process.  In a case that many observers believe represents an emerging model for rationing care, the FDA is preparing to “de-label” Avastin, a drug used primarily for late stage cancer patients in part because of cost concerns.  Such an action could result in Avastin coverage for breast cancer patients being denied by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans, while leaving the drug available to only those who can afford it.

“Let this poll be a warning to politicians, voters reject rationing; period, and the recent case of the  FDA determining a breast cancer drug is too expensive, is just the tip of the rationing iceberg.  Politicians who put a price on life will absolutely pay a price at the polls,” said Jim Martin, the Chairman of 60 Plus.

Pat Boone, legendary entertainer and spokesman for 60 Plus, said, “In 2010, millions of seniors will be showing up to vote in droves.  Tens of thousands of seniors rely on cancer treatments like the one the FDA is currently saying is too expensive to extend life and preserve hope.  If Washington denies their right to the best available treatments, Washington can expect to hear from them in November.”

The poll, commissioned by 60 Plus and fielded by Logos Communications from September 8 to September 10, 2010, clearly demonstrates that while Americans remain mostly opposed to the recently passed healthcare reform bill, they are wholly united against the prospect of healthcare rationing that puts a price a human life.

KEY FINDINGS:

Public Opinion on Healthcare Reform & Rationing

  • 47% of registered American voters oppose the recently passed healthcare reform law, compared to 41% who support it.
  • 56% of registered American voters believe the new healthcare reform law will lead to so-called “rationing” of care. 26% disagree.  Even 2008 Obama voters have their doubts: 39% believe it is likely to lead to rationing; 39% do not.
  • 82% believe that cost-effectiveness is NOT a justification for rationing, agreeing with the statement, “As a matter of principle, the government should not ration care or deny treatment options based on what it calls “cost-effectiveness.” I don”t trust the government to put a cost on human life.””  Only 7% disagree.
  • 71% believe “the government is likely to limit treatment options through Medicare and Medicaid based on cost within the next several years,” compared to 10% who believe it is unlikely. 44% say it is “very likely.”
  • 85% report they will be truly “angry”if the government does in fact ration Medicare and Medicaid,” including 59% who respond it will make them “very angry.”  Importantly in this election year, 87% of swing-vote seniors say that Medicare and Medicaid rationing would make them “angry.”

Public Opinion on the FDA &  the Avastin Case

  • 72% believe that the FDA should have nothing to do with “cost-effective” decisions, compared to 16% who want it involved in judging treatments based on cost.  82% of senior swing voters want the FDA to stay out of cost-based decisions.
  • 63% of Americans oppose the FDA’s consideration of revocation in the Avastin case, compared to 16% who support it. This includes 68% of senior swing voters who oppose it, 70% of female swing voters, and 60% of Obama voters.
  • 78% “worry” that the FDA’s revocation represents the “start of healthcare rationing” in America. 44% strongly agree.
  • 71% of registered American voters report they would be less likely to vote for any member of Congress who supported the FDA decision on drugs like Avastin. 49% would be “much less likely.”

Methodology

This survey data was collected by Logos Communications via internet surveys of 819 registered American voters from September 8 to September 10, 2010. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5% with a 95% level of confidence, with the sample accurately reflecting the American voter pool.


Posted Under: Health Care | News