Opioid scandal costs Publicis $350m

Publicis Health has reached a $350m settlement with all 50 US states in response to accusations that it recklessly increased sales of OxyContin and other opioids (highly addictive painkillers.)

New York Attorney General Letitia James, says: “For a decade, Publicis helped opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma convince doctors to overprescribe opioids, directly fueling the opioid crisis and causing the devastation of communities nationwide.”

Publicis Health worked with drugmaker Purdue from 2011 to 2019 on its ‘Evolve to Excellence’ plan targeting doctors who prescribed the most OxyContin. This led to a major rise in opioid prescriptions across the US.

Publicis isn’t out of the woods yet. In a statement the company says: “This settlement, in which the Attorneys General recognized Publicis Health’s ‘good faith and responsible corporate citizenship’, is in no way an admission of wrongdoing or liability. We will, if need be, defend ourselves against any litigation that this agreement does not resolve.”

Medical marketing, especially in the US, has been a free hit for the big ad holding groups, high margin work for highly profitable clients.

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