Pfizer has agreed to pay $23.85 million to resolve claims that it used a foundation as a conduit to pay the copays of Medicare patients taking three Pfizer drugs, in violation of the False Claims Act.
Under the Anti-Kickback Statute, a pharma company is prohibited from offering, directly or indirectly, any remuneration — which includes paying patients’ copay obligations — to induce Medicare patients to purchase the company’s drugs (Sutent, Inlyta and Tikosyn). The government alleged that Pfizer made donations to a foundation to enable it to cover the copays of patients and received confirmation from the foundation, via the specialty pharmacy, that the foundation funded the copays.
According to a Pfizer statement, “This resolution reflects the Company’s desire to put this legal matter behind it and focus on the needs of patients…Donations to independent charitable
organizations can provide significant assistance to patients with their copayments for prescriptions, and Pfizer continues to believe these programs help patients lead healthier lives."