Skip to Main Content

In another setback for the pharmaceutical industry, a federal appeals court panel upheld a ruling which found that copay assistance programs Pfizer wanted to launch for Medicare patients would violate kickback laws, a controversial issue that has caused numerous drugmakers to pay large fines.

The decision came in a closely-watched case that began two years ago, when Pfizer argued federal rules prohibiting companies from funding programs — either directly or indirectly — were unconstitutional. In one, Pfizer sought to provide direct financial assistance to Medicare beneficiaries using a heart failure drug. The other program would have used a charity to run a program to cover patient copays.


At the time, Pfizer maintained that the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services issued “erroneous” advisory opinions concerning its programs and, as a result, Medicare beneficiaries would be denied needed medicines they would otherwise not be able to afford due to out-of-pocket costs.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Create a display name to comment

This name will appear with your comment

There was an error saving your display name. Please check and try again.