Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

United States: Publicis will pay $350M for its role in the opioid crisis

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OxyContin is an opioid that Purdue Pharma product.

Agence France-Presse

A subsidiary of French advertising giant Publicis will pay the United States $350 million for its role in the country's opioid crisis, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives since 1999, the prosecutor announced on Thursday. New York State.

It is the first advertising agency to reach a settlement with the courts for its role in the opioid crisis, Letitia James' office said in a statement.

All states as well as several American territories will receive a share of the compensation set as part of an agreement with Publicis Health, according to the decision consulted by AFP. p>

California is to receive the largest amount ($34 million), ahead of Florida ($24.10 million) and Texas ($21.59 million ). New York State is to get almost 19 million.

For a decade, Publicis helped opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma convince doctors to overprescribe opioids, directly fueling the opioid crisis and causing the disappearance of populations across the country, Letitia noted. James, quoted in the press release.

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She believes that Publicis developed predatory and deceptive marketing strategies for Purdue Pharma in order to increase prescriptions and sales of opiates.

According to her, the advertising agency created flyers describing OxyContin as a safe treatment and incapable of causing misuse.

Purdue laboratory produces the pain medication OxyContin, the overprescription of which is widely considered to have triggered the opioid crisis in the United States.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 700,000 people died between 1999 and 2022 from an overdose linked to taking opiates, obtained by prescription or illegally.< /p>

Publicis Health immediately indicated, in a press release, that the activities concerned had been carried out by the Rosetta agency, purchased in 2011 and closed ten years ago.

This settlement agreement allows us to close three years of discussion, and concludes with a net payment of 148 million euros, she added, affirming that it did not represent an admission of fault nor of liability.

We will defend ourselves, if necessary, against any dispute that this agreement fails to resolve, assured Publicis Health.

The group, which had made a provision in its fourth quarter 2023 accounts for this transaction, specified to AFP that the total compensation represented $343 million to which was added $7 million. legal fees.

The agency also asserted that the work performed by Rosetta on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and covered by this settlement has always been fully compliant with the law.

Targeted by an avalanche of lawsuits, the Purdue laboratory declared bankruptcy in 2019 and has since been negotiating a plan, the latest version of which provides for its closure of ;by 2024 in the United States for the benefit of a new entity and the payment of at least $5.5 billion over 18 years.

But the American Supreme Court was seized, it was up to it to approve or annul the compensation agreement. A hearing was held in December 2023.

Consulting firm McKinsey agreed in 2021 to pay $573 million to settle the lawsuits Legal proceedings launched against him for contributing to the opioid crisis.

Large drug distributors such as CVS, Walgreens and Walmart have also been sued.

The DA's office says it has recovered more than $2.7 billion from prosecutions since 2019.

He also announced a second agreement on Thursday: the Hikma Pharmaceuticals laboratory, headquartered in the United Kingdom, will pay $150 million to several American states for its role in the drug crisis. opioids.

Between 2006 and 2021, Hikma failed to monitor or report suspicious orders for opiates from potentially illegal distributors, explained the prosecutor's office in a press release.

The group specified in its own press release that this agreement in principle resolved the vast majority of the proceedings launched against him in the United States, and that it did not represent an admission of guilt or responsibility.

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