By Forum Staff
Major biopharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. has agreed to pay $500,000 in penalties, fees, and costs to the State of New York, as well as over $200,000 in restitution to consumers as part of a settlement with the State Attorney General following an investigation into Pfizer’s business and advertising practices for its copayment coupon program, NY AG Barbara Underwood announced on Thursday.
The settlement resolves allegations that Pfizer deceptively marketed its copayment coupon program for its Estring, Quillivant XR and Quillichew ER (“Quillivant”), and Flector Patch products when it distributed these copayment coupons to consumers throughout the state without clearly and conspicuously disclosing the material terms and conditions. As part of the program, consumers were told that they would “pay no more than” $15 or $20, for example, for those drugs—but ended up spending far more at the cash register, Underwood noted.
Pfizer’s copayment coupons stated in large, clear text that eligible consumers would “PAY NO MORE THAN” certain amounts out-of-pocket. For example, large, bold print on the Estring copayment coupon said that a consumer using the copayment coupon would “PAY NO MORE THAN $15” for a prescription. In fact, consumers frequently paid significantly more than the “PAY NO MORE THAN” amount that appeared on the relevant Pfizer copayment coupons because of limits on total savings that were not prominently disclosed.
The AG opened the investigation into Pfizer’s marketing of its copayment coupons to New York consumers following the receipt of a complaint from a consumer who obtained a deceptive Estring copayment coupon. After the probe, Pfizer agreed to change the text of the Estring, Quillivant, and Flector Patch copayment coupons to explain that patients could “pay as little as” a listed amount, a process Pfizer completed as of early 2018.
New York consumers are eligible to receive restitution under the settlement for the amount of their copayment that exceeded the “PAY NO MORE THAN” amount listed on the relevant Estring, Quillivant, or Flector Patch copayment coupon for the first use of the card. Consumers who want to report a deceptive advertisement of prescription drugs, including a deceptive copayment coupon, or who have any other healthcare related complaints, can reach the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau Helpline at (800) 428-9071 or file a complaint online at ag.ny.gov.
“Pfizer misled customers by promising a low copay for prescription drugs—only to leave them with major bills at the cash register. Now, they must take responsibility and provide restitution to the New Yorkers they deceived,” Underwood added.
Courtesy of Pfizer
By Forum Staff