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Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > Survey of Americans Show Trust in Big Pharma Only Slightly Above Faith in Existence of 'Lizard Peopl

Survey of Americans Show Trust in Big Pharma Only Slightly Above Faith in Existence of 'Lizard People'

Posted 05 April 2013

Americans don't particularly trust the pharmaceutical industry. But the extent to which that trust deficit exists is on particularly glaring display in a new survey, which shows that more than one in seven Americans think the pharmaceutical industry is colluding to "invent" new diseases in order to profit off them, and 20% erroneously think vaccines cause autism.

Survey Results

The survey, conducted by the group Public Policy Polling, approached 1,247 registered voters, specifically probing their views regarding conspiracy-type questions, such as unidentified flying objects, the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy, and the existence of aliens.

Fifteen percent of those polled think that "the pharmaceutical industry is in league with the medical industry to "invent" new diseases in order to make money," while 16% said they were not sure.

Sixty-nine percent-a large majority-said they did not believe the industry engaged in that behavior

The biopharmaceutical industry received other bad news from the survey. Twenty percent of respondents indicated that they believed there is a link between childhood vaccines and autism, while a further 34% were "not sure." Forty-six percent said they did not believe there to be a link-an alarming number showing that the industry is likely doing a poor job at conveying the safety of its products.

The cross-tabulations of the survey show additional interesting data on both questions. More of those more likely to be conservative (those voting for former presidential contended Mitt Romney) thought the pharmaceutical industry was making up diseases (17%) than those of a more liberal persuasion (voting for Barack Obama, 11%). That trend was nearly identical for gender, with 12% of women expressing skepticism and 17% of men. Perhaps most troubling of all for companies, 27% of those between 18 and 29 thought companies made up diseases, while other ages surveyed saw significantly reduced rates (30-45, 12%; 46-65, 12%; 65+, 14%).

At Least They're Not… Lizard People?

The good news: pharmaceutical and device companies are at least in better favor compared to one fictional group. At least 4% of people polled expressed interest in "Lizard People"-that is, reptilian shape-shifters who appear to be people and "control our world"-while an additional 7% weren't sure of their convictions on the matter.

No word on whether those same respondents think lunacy is a medical condition.

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