Charles River Launches First Annual Healthcare Collaboration Report

Sept. 20, 2021 12:00 UTC


  • Survey reveals 59% believe healthcare in the United States is broken; better collaboration key to improving system
  • Majority of Americans support the increase of taxes for the benefit of healthcare improvements

WILMINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. (NYSE: CRL) today released the results from its first annual Healthcare Collaboration Report, which identified Americans’ perceptions of healthcare’s strengths and weaknesses, general knowledge of drug and vaccine development, as well as respondents’ key future priorities. The survey, conducted in May of 2021 with The Harris Poll, polled more than 1,500 Americans and found respondents want to see industry players working together, with 64% saying the quality of healthcare would improve with more collaboration.

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“Working from early-stage research all the way to drug manufacturing, Charles River is in a unique position to understand and appreciate the importance of collaboration across the healthcare industry,” said Jim Foster, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charles River Laboratories. “The scientific community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated just how powerful it is when stakeholders across healthcare work closely together. We developed, approved, manufactured, and distributed vaccines at record speed. This report is an important lens into the public’s perception of the industry and why a commitment to maintaining this collaborative effort will be so critical for a strong healthcare system in the future.”

Healthcare is broken, collaboration is key to remedy

The survey identified that one in three Americans (34%) believe the cost of healthcare is the biggest problem facing the system, followed by the high cost of prescription drugs (18%). Still, it is believed that collaboration has the potential to transform the industry, with 90% of Americans agreeing it will take a united effort of all key players to improve the healthcare system.

Other key findings on the potential impact of collaboration across the healthcare industry include:

  • 52% say that closer collaboration would increase the amount of healthcare innovation.
  • Most (84%) also agree greater collaboration across all groups involved in healthcare would help new drug development move more quickly.
  • The government is most likely to be assigned with the responsibility for improving the state of U.S. healthcare (39%), but the government is also the group least likely to be trusted to do what’s best for Americans – less than half (46%) trust the government somewhat or completely to do so.

Americans’ industry knowledge presents opportunity for education

While half (50%) of Americans think they are knowledgeable about the drug development process, there are clear opportunities for education about the industry. When asked about the amount of time it takes for a potential drug to be developed and approved for market in the U.S., only 10% correctly estimated that it takes between 10 and 15 years.

Additional findings regarding Americans’ knowledge of the healthcare industry include:

  • When asked to estimate the percentage of potential new drugs that are approved and make it to market in the United States, the average percentage reported was 36.4%. The actual percentage is closer to .02%.
  • While most know all new vaccines and drugs will not be approved as quickly as the coronavirus vaccines, there are still a fair number of adults who are not sure (60% correctly answered false, 24% not sure).
  • Most say collaboration between groups in the healthcare system was a reason the coronavirus vaccines were able to be approved so quickly (61% correctly answered true, 25% not sure).

Pandemic prevention, lowering drug prices critical in the road ahead

The pandemic brought the need for future investment and collaboration in vaccine development to the forefront for Americans, with 88% of respondents agreeing that pandemic prevention requires a collaborative effort between government, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, and patients.

Adults are somewhat split on their views about how well they felt the U.S. handled the coronavirus pandemic compared to other countries; however, the majority of Americans – across all political parties – support the increase of taxes for the benefit of healthcare improvements.

Other key highlights include:

  • Most say healthcare systems need to do more to help prevent pandemics (80%) with only around two in three (62%) feeling the U.S. healthcare system is very or somewhat prepared to deal with a pandemic in the future
  • Most adults across all political parties would support an increase in taxes if it led to:
    • Lowering prescription drug prices (75%)
    • Accelerating development of new treatments for common diseases (72%) as well as rare diseases (69%)
    • Increased funding for vaccine development for future pandemics (67%)
  • When asked what, if anything, should be done differently if there is another pandemic, adults were most likely to say there should be increased collaboration between all parts of the U.S. healthcare system (56%), as well as a unified global approach to end the pandemic (55%).

The Charles River Healthcare Collaboration Survey will be conducted annually and provide benchmark data on the public’s perception of the industry and key areas for improvement. For details on the survey methodology and to access the 2021 Healthcare Collaboration Report in its entirety, visit:

About Charles River

Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Our dedicated employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them. To learn more about our unique portfolio and breadth of services, visit

About the Survey

The custom survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Charles River Labs between May 11 and 24, 2021 among 1,508 adults ages age 18+ living in the United States. All respondents were weighted to align with figures from the US Census Bureau’s March 2020 CPS (Current Population Survey) on education, age by gender, race/ethnicity, region, household income, household size, and marital status for US adults age 18+. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


Amy Cianciaruso
Corporate Vice President, Public Relations


Source: Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.

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