COLORADO SPRINGS — Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Pfizer will refund more than $107,000 to approximately 1,500 Colorado consumers after it failed to honor coupons for three medications.
From 2014 to 2018, Pfizer offered copayment coupons to assist patients with out-of-pocket costs for medications such as Estring, which treats moderate to severe symptoms related to menopause; Quillivant, which treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; and Flector 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.
The coupons provided by Pfizer included small-print terms and conditions that listed a cap on potential savings. They even noted that out-of-pocket expenses could exceed the “pay no more than,” amount. However, these terms were not listed clearly and were in violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
“Many Coloradans use coupons from drugmakers to access and pay for high-cost medications,” 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.”
Pfizer gave consumers the coupons via their healthcare provider as a plastic card or a printable internet-provided coupon.
In a settlement, Pfizer agreed to pay restitution to impacted consumers who paid more than the amount listed on the coupon. The company will also pay $30,000 to the Attorney General’s Office to reimburse the state’s costs and attorneys’ fees along with future consumer fraud, consumer credit or antitrust enforcement, consumer education, or public welfare purposes. This settlement was reached in collaboration with Vermont, Arizona and Kansas to reach a settlement.
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.