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New York Attorney General sues healthcare advertising company for role in opioid crisis

NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Thursday, Feb. 1, that the healthcare advertising company Publicis Health will be forced to pay $350 million for its role in the opioid crisis.

James co-led a coalition of every attorney general in the U.S. to sue Publicis, which is one of the world’s largest healthcare advertising companies, for creating predatory and deceptive marketing strategies for Purdue Pharma.

The AG says Publicis worked with Purdue Pharma from 2010 through 2019 to develop marketing campaigns to promote opioids, like OxyContin, as being safe and unable to be abused.

Publicis also implemented Purdue Pharma’s predatory “Evolve to Excellence” scheme, which targeted doctors who prescribed the most OxyContin and flooded them with sales calls and other marketing about the benefits of increasing patients’ dosage of OxyContin.

“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,” said James. “No amount of money can compensate for lives lost and addiction suffered, but with this agreement, Publicis will cease their illegal behavior and pay $350 million to help our communities rebuild. Here in New York, we have delivered more than $2.7 billion to fund opioid abatement, treatment, and prevention, and we will continue fighting to deliver these critical resources to all communities ravaged by this epidemic.”

New York will receive $19,176,750.60 from this settlement, which will be used to fund opioid treatment and prevention in the state.

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