Only Nine Percent of U.S. Consumers Believe Pharma and Biotechnology Put Patients over Profits; Only 16 Percent Believe Health Insurers Do

The Harris Poll, January 17, 2017

Only nine percent of U.S. consumers believe pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies put patients over profits, while only 16 percent believe health insurance companies do, according to a Harris Poll study released today. Meanwhile, 36 percent of U.S. adults believe health care providers (such as doctors and nurses) put patients over profits, compared to hospitals (23%).

More consumers rate health insurance (24%) and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies (20%) with low reputations, compared to hospitals (6%), health care providers (doctors and nurses) (5%) and technology (2%). Fifty-eight percent rate the reputation of the technology industry as high, compared to health care providers (43%), hospitals (37%), pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies (20%), and health insurance companies (15%).

Consumer Skepticism High Across Health Care – But to Varying Degrees

Nearly half of consumers say they think store pharmacists (49%) and health care providers (48%) offer high quality products and services, compared to hospitals (44%), pharmaceutical companies (31%), and health insurance companies (26%). Roughly half of consumers believe providers (51%) and hospitals (49%) make a positive difference in the country, compared to store pharmacists (39%), health insurance companies (26%) and pharmaceuticals (26%).

Consumers See Providers, Patients Solving Health Care Challenges

When asked where solutions to the health care industry’s challenges will come from, more than half of U.S consumers (55%) say health care providers, such as doctors or nurses. Nearly half (47%) see patients and consumers solving health care challenges, while 38 percent cite the government. Other responses include health insurance companies (34%), pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies (32%), hospitals (31%), academics, non-profits or think tanks (29%), technology companies (25%), and retail pharmacies (7%).

Ethics Deemed Important Trait to Solve Health Care Challenges

The Harris Poll study finds that in order to be a part of the solution in addressing U.S. health care needs, consumers believe it is most important for organizations to demonstrate ethics (62% say very important) and quality (57%). Other critical factors include efficiency (51%), a long-term view versus a short-term gain (49%), collaboration (47%), flexibility (47%), and transparency (47%).…

While pharmaceutical firms and insurers stand out for having reputations of placing profits over patients, the rest of the health care industry has not totally escaped the perception of this blemish in its ethics.

It is reassuring that health care professionals – physicians and nurses – still have enough respect that the poll respondents believe that these professionals working with patients are best suited to provide solutions to our health care industry challenges. They believe that it is important to demonstrate ethics above all in addressing these problems.

Since ethics is integral to organizations such as Physicians for a National Health Program and National Nurses United/California Nurses Association, they and other sectors that operate on the same ethical plane are well positioned to work with the people of the nation to bring health care justice to all. We, along with the people, need to lead.