Posted 28 May 2013
By Alexander Gaffney, RF News Editor
How good is the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at doing its job? While the question is a source of frequent debate among members of pharmaceutical and medical device industries, a new Gallup poll shows that FDA's approval numbers among the general public have improved significantly in recent years, putting it ahead of even some of the US' most beloved agencies.
The poll found that 45% of respondents thought that FDA was doing either an "excellent" or "good" job, while 32% thought it was doing "only fair." Twenty-one percent thought it was doing a "poor" job. It's favorable ratings, however, put it ahead of many vaunted American institutions, including NASA (42% excellent/good) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (40% excellent/good), and well ahead of the Federal Reserve Board (33%) and the Internal Revenue Service (27%).
For FDA, the numbers are also a strong improvement over the last study that asked the question of respondents in 2009, which found just 38% percent of respondents thought it was doing an excellent (5%) or good (33%) job. Much of the shift appears to have come from people on the fence about FDA's performance. Negative perceptions remains fairly constant at 21% in 2013 (versus 22% in 2009), but those who thought FDA was doing only a "fair" job decreased from 37% in 2009 to 32% in 2013, moving entirely into the "good" or "excellent" categories.
While the poll may be good news for FDA, the news is decidedly different for other FDA-regulated industries. A recent poll by Public Policy Polling found a number of troubling beliefs among the general public, including:
- 20% of the general public erroneously believe that vaccines cause autism.
- 15% believed the pharmaceutical industry invents diseases to sell to the public and treat.
- Support for the pharmaceutical industry was only slightly above that of belief in lizard people (believed by 4% of respondents).
Gallup's poll included 1,016 national adults, and was conducted between 20-21 May 2013 (±4%, 95% CI).
Gallup Poll on FDA Approval