U.S. Rep. Scott Peters speaks to union workers at a car rally downtown on Election Day. Photo by Chris Stone

A survey released Wednesday found that a majority of voters in Rep. Scott Peters’ district support giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and expressed doubts this would hamper innovation.

Peters, whose 52nd District is one of the three top locations for biomedical research and drug development in the United States, has offered an alternative drug-pricing plan to what is contained in the Lower Drug Costs Now Act supported by most Democrats.

The poll by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling found that 81% of the 667 voters surveyed said they support giving Medicare the power to lower prescription drug prices.

Just 11% agreed with the statement that “by letting Medicare dictate prescription drug
prices, we will undercut drug companies’ ability to innovate and develop new drugs.”

Peters is a Democrat, and Public Policy Polling is considered a Democratic polling firm, but the Congressman is one of a vocal group of centrists opposing the drug pricing plan.

Half of those polled said Peters’ stance on the issue would make them less likely to vote for him.

Asked about the poll results, Peters’ office issued a statement saying the congressman supports Medicare negotiation and lowering drug costs.

“This poll affirms strong public support for a key tenet of the plan he authored, the Reduced Costs and Continued Cures Act,” according to the statement. “The bill allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and sets an out-of-pocket cap on drug costs for seniors that is, in fact, lower than the plan being pushed by the funders of this poll.”

The survey was fielded from Oct. 15 to 16 with 50% of interviews conducted by telephone and 50% by text message.

The respondents trended older than the San Diego County average, where the median age is 36, with 38% aged 46 to 65 and 26% at 65 — the age Medicare kicks in — or older.

The poll was sponsored by Protect Our Care, a national healthcare advocacy organization.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.