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In recent years, copay cards and coupons have become wildly popular with consumers who believe they can save significant sums at the pharmacy counter. But in a twist, Pfizer (PFE) has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle charges of misleading people who actually had to spend much more than expected.

As part of its program, consumers were told they would “pay no more than” a small amount of money — from $15 to $25 — for certain medicines, but were actually required to pay more because of limits on total savings that were not prominently disclosed. In one instance, a woman had to pay $144.62, according to New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood.


“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 said in a statement. Pfizer will pay $500,000 in penalties, fees, and costs to the state, as well as more than $200,000 in restitution to consumers, according to the settlement document.

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