Attorney General Todd Rokita today announced a $350 million national settlement with Publicis Health to resolve investigations into the global marketing and communications firm’s role in the prescription opioid crisis. Indiana will receive over $7.6 million from the settlement to help address the opioid crisis.
In agreeing to the terms of the settlement, Publicis recognized the harm its conduct caused, and the agreement will give communities hit hardest by the opioid crisis more financial support for treatment and recovery, building lasting infrastructure, and saving lives.
The company will also disclose on a public website thousands of internal documents detailing its work for opioid companies like Purdue Pharma and will stop accepting client work related to opioid-based Schedule II or other Schedule II narcotics.
“The deception by Publicis and big pharma in this case is astonishing, but it’s sadly what we continue to witness over and over again,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The company refused to take human life into consideration when they falsely marketed many prescription drugs to patients and doctors.”
Today’s filings describe how Publicis’ work contributed to the crisis by helping Purdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers market and sell opioids.
Court documents detail how Publicis acted as Purdue’s agency of record for all its branded opioid drugs, including OxyContin, even developing sales tactics that relied on farming data from recordings of personal health-related in-office conversations between patients and providers. The company was also instrumental in Purdue’s decision to market OxyContin to providers on patient’s electronic health records.
Purdue Pharma, with the help of Publicis, disseminated these drugs to healthcare providers, patients, and policymakers without full disclosure. Their dishonest conduct resulted in a dramatic rise in opioid prescriptions across the United States, which led to a devastating increase in opioid abuse, dependence, addiction, and overdose deaths.
These deaths—and the impacts on thousands who have struggled with opioid addiction—have created considerable costs for our health care, child welfare, and criminal justice systems. More significant than the dollars and cents in damage to our state, the impact on opioid addition, substance use, and overdose deaths have torn families apart, damaged relationships, and devastated communities.
Attorney General Rokita has made it a priority to combat the opioid crisis by fighting back against multiple pharmaceutical companies who are harming everyday Hoosiers. Opioid settlements alone total $925 million under the Rokita administration – a record for the state.
“Hoosiers have watched their friends and family members suffer and even die from drug abuse,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Far too many of these overdoses are directly related to misinformation spread by Publicis. Our office values life above all other things, and this company needs to be held accountable. I know it doesn’t bring our loved ones back, but it’s the only way we can prevent similar practices from happening in the future.”