Payment was established in an agreement between the company, the 50 North American States and Washington DC
The New York Attorney General’s Office announced on Thursday (Feb. 1, 2024) that the advertising company Publicis Health agreed to pay US$350 million (around R$1.72 billion, at current exchange rates) to the 50 states north -Americans and Washington DC Here is the full text (PDF – 785 kB, in English).
The negotiation was carried out after state attorneys general accused the company of driving the opioid crisis in the United States. According to the New York Attorney General’s Office, Publicis developed marketing strategies to help pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma encourage the prescription and sales of opioids, such as Oxycodone, Buprenorphine and Hydrocodone.
In a statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James stated that the work between the company and the pharmaceutical company took place from 2010 to 2019. Here is the full text (PDF – 248 kB, in English).
“For a decade, Publicis has helped opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma convince doctors to overprescribe opioids, directly fueling the opioid crisis and causing devastation to communities across the country.”stated James.
Also according to the statement, Publicis Health was the first advertising agency to reach an agreement with the North American Court on the matter.
The decision on the negotiation states that, of the total US$350 million, US$7 million will be allocated to pay legal fees and costs associated with the investigation that the States carried out. The remaining US$343 million will be divided among the North American federative units.
California will have the highest value (more than US$34 million, around R$168 million, at current prices). It is followed by Florida, which will receive more than US$24 million (around R$118 million, at current prices), and Texas, which will receive more than US$21 million (around R$104 million, at current prices) . New York will have to pay more than US$18.4 million (around R$91 million, at current exchange rates).
In addition to the money, Publicis will also have to release internal documents detailing its work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers. The files will be included in an online document repository for public dissemination purposes.
WHAT PUBLICIS SAID
In a statement, the advertising company stated that the work carried out with pharmaceutical companies from 2010 to 2019 was carried out by its agency Rosetta, which closed 10 years ago. He also said that the agreement closes the matter discussed for 3 years, but that the service provided “has always been in full compliance with the law”. Here is the full text (PDF – 235 kB, in English).
“The full value of the settlement should contribute quickly and directly to states’ anti-opioid efforts. This agreement, 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 defend ourselves, if necessary, against any dispute that this agreement does not resolve.”he stated.
OPIOIDS IN THE USA
The country is facing an epidemic of addiction due to the use of medications that are part of the opioid family. Many Americans use the drug as painkillers. In addition to Oxycodone, fentanyl has become quite popular in the country.
However, the synthetic drug is considered to be 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Thus, it can lead to fatal overdose if used without medical advice.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), fentanyl is one of the leading causes of overdose deaths in the country. “More than 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl”states the agency on its website.
North American authorities seek to contain the flow and mitigate the production of the drug with the support of China. On January 30, US Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Jen Daskal met with Chinese Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong to discuss the matter.
One of the results of the meeting was the launch of a bilateral anti-narcotics working group. According to a statement from the White House, the initiative is a “fundamental mechanism to coordinate efforts between countries to combat the global manufacturing and trafficking of illicit synthetic drugs, including fentanyl”.