Class Action Lawsuits Filed Over Drug Co-Pay Subsidy Programs

Eight major drug manufacturers face class action lawsuits over popular co-pay coupon programs, which reduce the amount consumers pay for prescription drugs, but may increase the overall costs for the medical industry. 

Plaintiffs say that while it may appear that the coupons lower the cost of the drugs, they in fact raise it.

Community Catalyst, a consumer coalition group, says that the co-pay coupons will drive up the cost of prescription drugs because they work as disincentives to use generic drugs, which are cheaper overall.

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The drug companies targeted by the lawsuits, include Abbott Laboratories, Amgen Inc., AstraZeneca, Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Novartis AG, and Pfizer Inc. Some of the drugs named in the complaints include Celebrex, Crestor, Enbrel, Lipitor, Nexium and Vytorin.

According to allegations raised in the complaints, the drug makers offer discounts on co-pays, but ultimately drive up the costs for insurance companies. The lawsuits define the coupons as kickbacks and charge the companies with racketeering, violation of interstate commerce laws, fraud and commercial bribery.

The complaints quote the American Medical Association, which noted that “routine forgiveness or waiver of copayments may constitute fraud under state and federal law.”

While many of the drug makers have not responded to the charges, Pfizer has indicated that it will defend the coupons in court and said the goal is to help patients cut out-of-pocket expenses, particularly for drugs that have no generic equivalent.

A report by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association last November estimated that the coupons will increase the cost of prescription drugs by about $32 billion over the next decade.

2 Comments

  • KennethMarch 5, 2022 at 11:40 am

    Why are co-pays legal,I have to have some type of insurance to live, but I’m punished for using it! Co-pays amount to theft!

  • MarilynFebruary 19, 2019 at 12:08 am

    My complaint is on Eliquis by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Repatha with their copay cards. I need these medications because I had open heart surgery on 11-14-2018 with five bypasses. I take Eliquis for blood thinning and cannot qualify for a copay cad because I am on Medicare with supplement insurance which is a government program which disqualifies me. I pay $141.00 for three months supply and my [Show More]My complaint is on Eliquis by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Repatha with their copay cards. I need these medications because I had open heart surgery on 11-14-2018 with five bypasses. I take Eliquis for blood thinning and cannot qualify for a copay cad because I am on Medicare with supplement insurance which is a government program which disqualifies me. I pay $141.00 for three months supply and my insurance company pays around $ 1,500.00. I need Repatha for my cholesterol which is supposed to work instantly to keep my graffs open. I cannot afford the cost because it would run me $500.00 a month. I cannot take another form of Statans because they affect my muscles. It is right that I have to pay a higher cost because I am on a Government program

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