The General Public Supports Breaking Drug Patents To Ensure Access To HIV/AIDS Drugs In Poorer Countries
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – June 28, 2007— In May 2007, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took steps to make an inexpensive generic version of a patented AIDS drug manufactured by Merck & Co. by issuing a compulsory license that would bypass Merck’s patent. A compulsory license is a legal mechanism that allows a country to manufacture or buy generic versions of patented drugs while paying the patent holder only a small royalty. Most adults in the U.S. (57%) say they are in favor of the country's decision, while 20 percent say they are opposed.
Overall, sixty-one percent of U.S. adults believe poorer countries should be allowed to break companies' patents on HIV/AIDS drugs if doing so would help them treat more of their population. Thirty-three percent say they believe that ignoring companies' patents on HIV/AIDS drugs hinders the development of new drugs, while 40 percent say they disagree with this statement.
These are some of the results of an online survey of 2,246 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive® between June 11 and 13, 2007 for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition (www.wsj.com/health).
Compared to five years ago, fewer U.S. adults feel that the global HIV/AIDS epidemic is worsening. Forty percent think the global HIV/AIDS epidemic has worsened in the last five years, down from 58 percent in 2004 who said the same. Sixteen percent say they feel the global HIV/AIDS epidemic has gotten better, while 32 percent say things have stayed about the same.
Ultimately, the public strongly believes that prevention programs that teach about and distribute condoms are the most effective means of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. By comparison, the public is more ambivalent about the efficacy of abstinence programs. Seventy six percent agree that programs that teach about and distribute condoms will be most effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, while half (51%) say they agree that the best way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is through programs that teach abstinence.
Katherine Binns, Division President for Healthcare Research at Harris Interactive, comments, "Although U.S. adults seem to be less concerned that the global HIV/AIDS epidemic is worsening, they continue to support spending on prevention and treatment of the disease and on caring for children who have been orphaned by AIDS."
HIV/AIDS: A WORSENING GLOBAL EPIDEMIC
"Based on what you know or have heard, do you think the global HIV/AIDS epidemic has gotten better, worse or stayed about the same compared to five years ago?"
Base: All adults
Stayed about the same
PUBLIC PREFERENCES FOR US SPENDING
"US spending for the global prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS focuses on four areas: prevention; treatment; end-of-life care for AIDS patients, and children who have been orphaned by the disease. If you were in charge and you had $100 dollars to distribute between these programs, how would you spend them?"
Base: All adults
Portion of $100 That Would Spend On: (Mean)
End-of-life care for AIDS patients
Children who have been orphaned by the disease
PERCEPTIONS ABOUT TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
"To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?"
Base: All adults
Agree Strongly/ Somewhat (NET)
Disagree Strongly/ Somewhat (NET)
Poorer countries should be allowed to break drug patents for HIV/AIDS drugs if it helps them treat more of their population.
When poorer countries break drug patents for HIV/AIDS drugs they hinder the development of new drugs.
The best way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is through programs that teach abstinence.
Abstinence programs hinder, rather than help, efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
Prevention programs that teach about and distribute condoms will be most effective at preventing the spread of HIV/ AIDS.
SUPPORT FOR BREAKING DRUG PATENTS
"Brazil recently announced that they will break the patent of an HIV/AIDS drug and purchase a generic version against the wishes of the drug’s patent holder. Do you favor or oppose Brazil’s decision?"
Base: All adults
Strongly/Somewhat Favor (NET)
Strongly/Somewhat Oppose (NET)
Harris Interactive® conducted this online survey within the United States between June 11 and 13, 2007 among a national cross section of 2,246 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.
With one exception (sampling error), the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.
With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With pure probability samples of 2,246 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the results would have a sampling error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and may vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
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About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiaries Novatris in France and MediaTransfer AG in Germany, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained on the website. To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register here.
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