Publicis Health has agreed to a $350 million settlement to address its involvement in the opioid crisis, with funds distributed to all affected states and U.S. territories within 60 days for relief efforts. The company will also make public thousands of internal documents revealing its marketing strategies for opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma, particularly concerning drugs like OxyContin, from 2010 to 2021. This action highlights Publicis Health’s significant role in promoting opioids during a period that saw widespread addiction and numerous fatalities.
Furthermore, Publicis Health has committed to ceasing all marketing work for opioid-based Schedule II or III controlled substances. This decision reflects an acknowledgment of the harm caused by its practices, as emphasized by statements from the Attorney Generals of Colorado and Washington, D.C., who led the investigation into the company. They accused Publicis Health of prioritizing profits over responsible conduct, contributing to the opioid epidemic by supporting the marketing of addictive drugs.
In response, Publicis Health outlined its past work for opioid manufacturers, mentioning its acquisition of Rosetta, an agency already engaged with opioid clients. It defended its work as focused on healthcare providers, adhering to FDA-approved communication standards, and described the settlement as part of its commitment to contributing to the fight against the opioid crisis in the U.S.
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[Source: MM+M, February 2nd, 2024]