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Keystone State Closes Drug Assistance Firm

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Pennsylvania regulators have persuaded a for-profit prescription procurement service to shut down.

The firm, Pro-Tel Planning L.L.C., Red Lion, Pa., charged a $60 annual subscription for helping consumers apply to pharmaceutical manufacturers for free and heavily discounted drugs, according to officials in the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.

The firm implied that consumers had to buy life insurance from Pro-Tel to qualify for the assistance program, officials say.

The firm also failed to let consumers know that they could get the same prescription assistance forms and information for free from toll-free telephone hotlines, and they failed to inform consumers that the consumers had the right to cancel Pro-Tel contracts within 3 full business days without penalty, officials say.

The owners of Pro-Tel are denying the officials’ allegations, but they have entered into an “assurance of voluntary compliance” agreement that calls for Pro-Tel to shut down, officials say.

The agreement also calls for Pro-Tel to refund a portion of subscription fees to consumers who file complaints with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office by March 21.

The Pro-Tel owners must pay about $7,500 in civil penalties and investigation costs, and they must “stop engaging in all health care related business that is not directly related to the sale of insurance,” officials say.


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