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Lawsuits allege pharma coupons are illegal kickbacks

Steven M. Sellers

Eight pharmaceutical manufacturers are facing allegations that they violated federal racketeering, kickback, and antitrust laws in class actions over the use of discount coupons for drugs. Covering all or part of a consumer’s co-pay contribution amounts to commercial bribes to lure consumers away from less expensive generic drugs, the suits allege. The practice shifts that higher cost to private health insurers. Attorney Wells Wilkinson, director of the Boston-based Prescription Access Litigation Project, said that consumers are exposed to broader privacy risks through coupon use. “By using a coupon even once, consumers are giving that drug manufacturer a way to unlock their prescription drug history.”

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