Attorney General Phil Weiser announces Pfizer will refund more than $100K to Colorado consumers after failing to honor coupons
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (PRESS RELEASE) - Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced Pfizer will refund $107,174.82 to approximately 1,500 Colorado consumers after it failed to honor coupons for three medications. Colorado collaborated with Vermont, Arizona, and Kansas to reach this settlement.
From at least 2014-2018, Pfizer offered copayment coupons to assist patients with some of their out-of-pocket costs for Estring®, which treats moderate to severe symptoms related to menopause; Quillivant, which treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; and Flecto0r Patch®, a prescription NSAID patch that treats acute pain due to minor strains, sprains, and bruises.
Many of the coupons stated consumers would “pay no more than” a certain amount. An investigation by the Colorado Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Section found that, during that time, hundreds of patients paid more than the “pay no more than” amount listed on the coupons.
Although the coupons Pfizer provided included small-print terms and conditions that listed a cap on potential savings and noted that out-of-pocket expenses could exceed the “pay no more than” amount listed on the face of the coupon, those terms were not listed clearly, thereby violating the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
“Many Coloradans use coupons from drugmakers to access and pay for high-cost medications. The Colorado Consumer Protection Act protects consumers from misleading practices, like those of drug companies issuing these coupons but not following through on their promises,” Weiser said. “We will continue to prioritize fair treatment for Colorado consumers and hold companies like Pfizer accountable for not living up to their promises or hiding critical terms in hard-to-read fine print.”
The company gave consumers the coupons either via their healthcare provider as a plastic card or a printable internet-provided coupon. In the settlement, the company agreed to pay restitution to impacted consumers who used these coupons and paid more than the amount listed on the coupon. Pfizer will also pay $30,000 to the Attorney General’s Office to reimburse the state’s costs and attorneys’ fees and for future consumer fraud, consumer credit or antitrust enforcement, consumer education, or public welfare purposes.
The more than $100,000 will be distributed to Colorado consumers in a mailed check within the next four months along with a letter explaining the settlement. Neither the Attorney General’s Office nor Pfizer will ask consumers for their personal information or bank account details.
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