Recent Drug Recalls Leave Physicians and Consumers Concerned about Prescription Drug Safety, Accenture Study Finds

80% of Doctors Say More Should Be Done to Monitor the Safety of Prescription Drugs After They Are On the Market

NEW YORK; July 27, 2005 – In light of recent prescription drug recalls, physicians and consumers alike are concerned about drug safety, agreeing that more should be done to monitor drugs for side effects after they are approved for market to ensure their safe use, according to results of a study released today by Accenture.

The study of more than 100 U.S. physicians and 500 U.S. consumers found that two-thirds (67 percent) of doctors and one-third (32 percent) of consumers have become more concerned about the safety of prescription medications since the recent removal from the market of popular pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors.

In addition, the vast majority of physicians and consumers (82 percent and 88 percent, respectively) believe that more should be done to monitor the safety of drugs after they are on the market. Eight in 10 physicians (80 percent) said regulatory agencies should increase monitoring after drugs are approved for use, and more than three-quarters (77 percent) said regulatory agencies should improve monitoring feedback capabilities. Only one-third (32 percent) of physicians said they were extremely or very confident in the current post-market monitoring system.

Doctors who participated in the study also expressed confidence that new medical information technologies have the potential to help improve the existing system of drug-safety monitoring. In fact, two-thirds (66 percent) of physicians surveyed said they believe that electronic medical records could help address post-market drug surveillance.

Despite drug safety concerns, consumers trust the pharmaceutical industry. Virtually all consumers (93 percent) surveyed said they believe that prescription drugs can have a positive impact on their health, and 87 percent said that pharmaceutical companies provide an extremely or very valuable service to society.

“The positive news here for the pharmaceutical industry is that consumers continue to believe strongly in the value and efficacy of prescription medications,” said Philip George, a managing partner in Accenture’s Health & Life Sciences practice. “However, consumers and physicians we surveyed expressed a lack of confidence in the post-market safety monitoring systems currently in place for prescription medications in the United States. It appears that recent high-profile product withdrawals have intensified this concern.”

The survey also identified a public misunderstanding regarding the investment required to develop new medication. The majority of consumers surveyed believe it takes an average of 8.5 years and less than $200 million dollars to bring a new drug to market, whereas recent estimates put the true figure at 15 years and $800 million to $1.2 billion.

The research report comprised two separate surveys in which 524 U.S. consumers over the age of 30 and 100 family physicians, general practitioners and internists were queried to ascertain their beliefs and concerns regarding prescription drug safety. The Web-based surveys were fielded between March 29, 2005 and April 4, 2005.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 115,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$13.67 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2004. Its home page is