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New Survey Finds Strong Public Interest in Prescription Drug Safety Issues

Americans Trust FDA, but express conflicting views about how to manage safety risks

WASHINGTON, September 19, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies will announce results tomorrow from a national survey assessing public views on safety of prescription medicines, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and overall satisfaction with the U.S. health care system. The survey briefing will take place on Thursday, September 20 from 9:30 - 10:30 AM ET at the National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC.

"At a time when Congress is debating the FDA Revitalization Act (FDARA) to strengthen the safety of prescription medicines and overhaul the FDA, this survey validates that drug safety is a real concern for the American public," said Dr. James Thurber, Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, . "The survey shows some support for the concept of FDARA, however, there is a clear desire and expectation among participants for regulators to balance speed of approvals with their responsibility of reducing safety risks."

Key survey findings include:

  • 64 percent of those surveyed say U.S. health care system is "broken"
  • More than three-quarters of those surveyed say prescription drug safety is at least somewhat important to them in deciding their vote for the 2008 Presidential election
  • 88% of Americans surveyed are confident in the safety of prescription drugs made in the United States
  • Public confidence level drops off markedly for drugs made in Europe and Canada (56% confident), and China and India (14% confident)
  • On prescription drug issues, Americans trust the FDA (82%), followed by patient advocate groups (74%), pharmaceutical companies (67%) and Congress (53%)
  • 50% of Americans are skeptical of Congress' ability to pass "common-sense" laws governing how the FDA approves drugs
  • Despite public trust in the FDA, those surveyed are evenly divided on the agency's overall performance:
    • 53% rate the FDA as excellent or good, while 47% rate it as only fair or poor
    • Overall, 18-34 year olds are more positive to the FDA, while senior citizens (especially men) are more negative
  • Only 8% of those surveyed have seen, read, or heard about the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act (FDARA)
  • Those surveyed are divided on the question of whether or not FDA reviews of new drugs should be funded by the pharmaceutical industry - 47% in favor and 46% opposed
  • 54% believe that all prescription drugs sold in the U.S. have been approved by the FDA, while 37% say just some of them have approval
  • Few of those surveyed have a clear understanding of where the FDA receives its funding - 54% say it is from the government, 20% from pharmaceutical companies, and 17% say it is from both
  • Most believe the biggest contributor to the cost of prescription drugs is the profit margin (43%), while 28% say it is the cost of marketing, and only 25% say it is the cost of research

The national telephone survey of 800 adults was conducted by The Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies from September 4-6, 2007. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.46%.

To register for the press briefing or for more information, contact Katharine Perrow at 202-955-6222, .

The survey results will be announced as part of A Dialogue on Prescription Drug Safety: Seeking Common Ground, a program presented by American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and to examine efforts by public policymakers to enhance America's prescription drug safety systems and reform the FDA.

Future A Dialogue on Prescription Drug Safety: Finding Common Ground forums will feature policy and industry leaders, patient advocates and others to discuss the political realities and medical implications of FDARA. The program is sponsored by American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and, a provider of online forums, discussions and debates on global political, social and cultural issues. The program is supported by Pfizer Inc.

For more information about A Dialogue on Prescription Drug Safety or upcoming events, please visit or contact Katharine Perrow at 202-955-6222, (832) 549-5873 or .

About American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, a center within the university's School of Public Affairs, provides an integrated teaching, research, and study program focusing on Congress, the presidency, and the interactions of these two basic American institutions. Established in 1979, the Center provides a scholarly organization uniquely able to draw on its Washington, DC location in the very heart of the events shaping Congress and the presidency.

For more information about CCPS, go to

About ( is the leading provider of online video content focused on discourse, discussions and debates surrounding global political, social and cultural issues. Content partners of include: C-SPAN; the World Affairs Councils of Northern California, Dallas, Oregon, Philadelphia and Connecticut; The Brookings Institution; Hoover Institution; the Cato Institute; New America Foundation; The Heritage Foundation; and the Aspen Institute. delivers content via its proprietary FORA Player, mobile phones, iPods, cable video-on-demand and other distribution platforms such as Akimbo and Link TV.

CONTACT: Maralee Csellar of American University, +1-202-885-5952,; or Katharine Perrow, +1-202-955-6222 or Cell:+1-832-549-5873, , for American University

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Posted: September 2007