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New Poll Indicates Americans Believe Drug Costs for Chronically Ill Patients Are Greater in U.S. Than in Canada

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Fully 81% of Americans think that the amount of money chronically ill patients have to pay for their prescription drugs, including generics and brand-name drugs, is a greater financial burden for patients in the U.S. than in Canada, according to the results of a new Harris Interactive(R) poll of 2,343 U.S. adults conducted online between August 6 and 10, 2004 for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition.

Value of Medications
In rating medications in terms of the value for money they provide, U.S. adults favor generic prescription drugs (61%) over brand-name prescription drugs (26%) as "Very Good Value/Fairly Good Value."

Reasons Consumers Choose Generics
The last time people chose a generic drug over a brand-name prescription drug was based on cost: 40% say "It was less expensive." This is no surprise. What may be more interesting is that as many people (41%) say the main reason they used a generic was that it was prescribed or recommended by a doctor or pharmacist.

Cost of Generics in U.S. versus Canada
Recent reports have indicated that generic drugs are often less expensive in the U.S. than they are in Canada. However, very few Americans believe this to be true. Most people (73%) think the out-of-pocket costs for generic drugs in the U.S. are "Much/somewhat higher (NET)" while only 6% think they are "Much/somewhat lower (NET)."

"American angst about high drug prices in the U.S. is so strong that most people assume -- wrongly, in many cases -- that generic drugs cost more here than in Canada," says Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll(R) at Harris Interactive.

This study was conducted online within the United States between August 6 and 10, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,343 adults. 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.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of ±3.0 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample was not a probability sample.

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

About the Survey
The Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll is an exclusive poll that is published in the award-winning Health Industry Edition of The Wall Street Journal Online at

Downloadable PDFs of Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Polls are posted at

Source: Harris Interactive

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