People trust FDA, unsure if it performs

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Results of a new consumer survey on drug safety released by American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies indicate that 82% of Americans surveyed trust the FDA on prescription drug issues, but only 53% rate the agency's work as “excellent” or “good,” while 47% say it is “fair” or “poor.”

Overall, those 18 to 34 years old were more positive on the FDA, while senior citizens—and especially men—were more negative. The survey was part of the center's program “A Dialogue on Prescription Drug Safety: Seeking Common Ground,” funded by Pfizer to examine efforts by policymakers to enhance America's prescription drug safety system and reform the FDA.

While 88% of those surveyed are confident in the safety of prescription drugs made in the US, that number falls off to 56% for drugs made in Europe and Canada and 14% for drugs made in India and China.

Some 64% of those surveyed said the US health system is “broken,” and more than 75% said prescription drug safety is at least somewhat important to them in deciding for whom to vote in the 2008 presidential election.

The FDA is the most trusted organization on prescription drug issues (82%), followed by patient advocacy groups (74%), drug companies (67%), and Congress (53%). Half of those surveyed said they are skeptical of Congress' ability to pass “common-sense” laws governing how the FDA approves drugs.

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