Rare Daily Staff

A new poll conducted in the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy with a $2.1 million price tag finds Americans are supportive of gene therapy and favor the pursuit of curative therapies despite their high upfront costs.

The poll from the Pacific Research Institute, which advocates for free-market policies, found that 78 percent of respondents agreed that developing cures for diseases should be pursued, despite high upfront costs.

The poll also found that 69 percent of respondents believe insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid should pay for these treatments, and 67 percent would support an additional cost to their insurance payment to cover these treatments for all patients.

“Gene therapies have the potential to cure a wide array of difficult-to-treat diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease, autism, cystic fibrosis, HIV, and cancer, among others” said Wayne Winegarden, director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation.  “Our new poll shows that Americans see the potential for the innovation from gene therapies to find cures for often-deadly diseases that cut short people’s lives, and illnesses that strike newborns, infants, and toddlers.”

A total of 80 percent of respondents said they agree that focusing on curing diseases is a greater priority than chronically treating them.

“Not only do gene therapies provide significant value, but they also have the potential for future health care savings on drugs and doctor visits,” said Winegarden. “Ensuring patients have access to these new cures that can improve their overall quality of life–and in many cases save their lives – is imperative.”

Lincoln Park Strategies conducted the poll, which involved 1,000 interviews among adults from June 5-6, 2019 and were weighted to ensure proportional results. The poll had a margin of error of ±3.1 at a 95 percent confidence level.

Photo: Wayne Winegarden, director of Pacific Research Institute’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation

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