A Publicis Groupe SA sign is seen at its headquarters in Paris, France, Sunday, July 28, 2013.
Balint Porneczi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The health care division of French advertising giant Publicis has agreed to pay $350 million to settle claims that past drug marketing efforts helped fuel America’s opioid crisis, US attorneys general said Thursday.
The settlement marks the latest payout related to the prescription pill addiction epidemic, following settlements with top drug companies totaling tens of billions of dollars.
Publicis Health said it will distribute $343 million of its total fee to all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and five U.S. territories.
“The full settlement amount should quickly and immediately contribute to the States’ opioid relief effort,” Publicis Health said in a statement.
The group does not admit wrongdoing or liability as part of the settlement, which resulted from three years of negotiations. But, its statement said, “We recognize the broader context in which this legitimate work took place.”
“Fighting the opioid crisis in the United States requires collaboration between industries, lawmakers and communities, and we are committed to playing our part,” the statement said.
Publicis Health noted that $130 million of its payment to the states has been reimbursed by its insurers. After tax, the total charge amounts to $160 million in cash, the group said.
“For a decade, Publicis has helped opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma convince doctors to overprescribe opioids, directly fueling the opioid crisis and wreaking havoc on communities nationwide,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, co-leader of the national coalition. a press release.
“No amount of money can make up for the lives lost and the addiction they suffered, but with this settlement, Publicis will stop their illegal behavior and pay $350 million to help our communities rebuild,” James said. .
New York will receive nearly $19.2 million from the overall settlement, according to the state’s consent order with Publicis Health.
The highest settlement amounts were distributed to California, Florida, and Texas, which received $34.4 million, $24.1 million, and $21.6 million, respectively.
The states acknowledged that Publicis worked with them “in good faith” with “responsible corporate citizenship” to reach the settlement.
Publicis Health noted that its work for drug companies targeting this settlement was primarily done by a company that went by the name Rosetta, which closed a decade earlier.
That project “was at all times in full compliance with the law,” Publicis Health’s statement said.
And Rosetta’s work “was used exclusively with health care providers, not consumers, using communication tools and language expressly approved by” the US Food and Drug Administration, it said.
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