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Public Trust in the US FDA

September 18, 2020

FDA’s reputation has been very much in the news lately. Obviously, this will inform the appropriations process and may well have consequences. Therefore, we at the Alliance will continue to monitor this situation and consider how appropriations are affected.

Axios-Ipsos polling data released on September 15, 2020, show that public trust in FDA — even under the most favorable interpretation — stands at 57% (here). The agency is more trusted than federal and state governments and manufacturers (here).

Here are some key findings:

  • 57% of Americans have some degree of trust in the FDA, though only 8% of those categorized it as a great deal of trust while the balance said they have a fair amount of trust.
  • Another 42% said they had either not very much trust in the FDA or none at all.
  • The levels of trust (and mistrust) were fairly consist over a series of demographics, with only those over 65 and urban populations showing 60% or slightly greater trust levels.

The Axios analysis observed that the data “shows how difficult it may be to get Americans to converge around a vaccine when the time comes. This also underscores the dangers of politicizing government agencies tasked with administering science and protecting the public.”

Restoring trust in the agency clearly needs to be considered both an immediate and a long-term objective and, at least as it relates to appropriations, in line with the Alliance mission. This is vitally important to FDA stakeholders.

Editorial Note: The Analysis and Commentary section is written by Steven Grossman, Deputy Executive Director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.

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