Overall, 44 percent of Americans said they have a favorable opinion of drug companies, while 50 percent have an unfavorable view, according to the results of a survey issued yesterday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Drug companies are viewed more favorably than oil companies (36 percent favorable) and tobacco companies (17 percent), but less than doctors (82 percent favorable), hospitals (78 percent) and banks (75 percent), the survey said. However, even though most Americans believe prescription drugs are improving their lives, they also say that the drug industry cares more about profits than people. Seventy percent of those surveyed said drug companies are more interested in profits than patients. In addition, 69 percent said medicines are a very important factor in rising health-care costs and 65 percent think there isn't enough government regulation of prices. People also blame drug companies for rising health-care costs. Nearly 60 percent said prescription drugs increase overall medical costs because they are so expensive. "Rightly or wrongly, drug companies are now the number one villain in the public's eye when it comes to rising health-care costs," said Drew Altman, the foundation's president.