Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced a settlement with Pfizer Inc. following an investigation into the company’s business and advertising practices for its copayment coupon program. As part of the program, consumers were told that they would “pay no more than” certain amounts out-of-pocket for specific drugs – but ended up spending far more at the pharmacy. As part of the settlement, qualified Vermont consumers will automatically receive restitution for the amounts they overpaid.
The settlement resolves allegations that Pfizer deceptively marketed its copayment coupon program for its Estring, Quillivant XR, 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. 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 Attorney General’s Office investigated Pfizer’s marketing of its copayment coupons to Vermont consumers following the receipt of information that consumers in Vermont obtained a deceptive Estring copayment coupon. The coupon included the deceptive language “PAY NO MORE THAN $15.” Pfizer has since 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.
The settlement announced today requires Pfizer to pay $30,000 to the State of Vermont, as well as a total of $4564.59 in restitution to Vermont consumers. Impacted consumers who used these copayment coupons and paid more than the amount listed on the coupon will receive restitution.
Eligible Vermont consumers will receive their restitution payment by mail from a third-party settlement administrator within the next four months. Consumers with questions about the settlement may contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 802-828-5479.
To report a deceptive advertisement of prescription drugs, including a deceptive copayment coupon, or any other healthcare-related complaints, may be filed with the Consumer Assistance Program at www.ago.vermont.gov/cap/consumer-complaint.
A copy of the settlement is available here.
Contact: Lauren Jandl, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171