WASHINGTON -- Nearly two-thirds of people want the U.S. government more involved in limiting the price of prescription drugs, according to a survey released on Thursday by a nonprofit health research group.
Sixty-five percent of the 1,200 adults polled said they want more government regulation of drug prices, while 14 percent said there was too much regulation.
Forty-six percent said they would back more price regulation even if it might lead to less research and development, as drug makers argue.
The federal Medicare program will implement broad prescription drug coverage starting next January. Medicare officials are forbidden by law from negotiating drug prices with the manufacturers. Other government agencies such as the Defense Department already negotiate prices.
The telephone poll was conducted during the first week of February by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health research organization.
Half of those surveyed reported taking a prescription drug daily.
Despite recent controversies about drug side effects, 77 percent of people polled said they were "very" or "somewhat" confident in the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites)'s ability to ensure drug safety.
The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
© 2005 Reuters