Publicis Settles for $350 Million Over OxyContin Ads Dispute

Publicis, the advertising firm used by Purdue Pharma to falsely advertise OxyContin, has reached a historic $350 million settlement, and it needs to be paid right now.

Landmark Resolution for Publicis

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Publicis played a major role in advertising the sale of OxyContin for Purdue Pharma before millions became addicted to the drug, causing a severe epidemic in the U.S. 

Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin Introduction

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Purdue Pharma’s introduction of OxyContin in the 1990s was met with a marketing campaign whose main argument was that the drug is not addictive.

Financial Ramifications

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The agreed settlement, totaling $350 million, must be paid within two months despite the company denying any wrongdoing.

Campaigns “Unfair”

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According to the lawsuit, Publicis created “unfair and deceptive” marketing campaigns to convince the public that the drug was safe to use.

Death Toll of Epidemic

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The opioid epidemic in the United States resulted in the deaths of over half a million people who were promised the drug was safe to use.

Historic Settlement

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Despite the epidemic starting almost three decades ago, in the mid-1990s, this is the first settlement of its kind.

Publicis’ Statement

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“The fight against the opioid crisis in the United States requires collaboration across industries, lawmakers, and communities, and we are committed to playing our part,” the French advertising company said in a statement.

Opioid Client Embargo

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The settlement included an order forbidding Publicis from working with other companies that produce OxyContin.

Publicis’ Defense and Denial

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While Publicis maintains its actions were “lawful,” New York Attorney General Letitia James challenged this assertion.

States’ Collaborative Negotiation

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New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “Publicis was responsible for creating advertisements and materials, such as pamphlets and brochures.”

False Advertising Revealed

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According to James, these adverts “promoted OxyContin as safe and unable to be abused, even though this claim was not true.”

Decade-long partnership with McKinsey

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Collaborating with McKinsey from 2010 to 2019, Publicis shaped Purdue’s “Evolve to Excellence” campaign, perpetuating the false marketing of OxyContin.

An Increased Chance of Sale

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An investigation also revealed that this collaboration with McKinsey resulted in doctors being targeted depending on the amount of OxyContin they had been prescribing.

McKinsey’s Previous Accountability

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McKinsey, implicated in the opioid crisis, had previously settled in 2021 for $573 million, an acknowledgment of its involvement in exacerbating the crisis.

Impact of the “Evolve to Excellence” Campaign

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The “Evolve to Excellence” campaign not only allowed overprescription but disseminated false information, pushing for higher doses of OxyContin.

A Warning to Defend Itself

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Publicis warned it would defend itself, “We will, if need be, defend ourselves against any litigation that this agreement does not resolve.”

Hopeful Contribution to Combat Addiction

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Despite denying wrongdoing, Publicis expressed hope that the substantial payment would be a meaningful contribution to the ongoing fight against opioid addiction, “that is why we reached an agreement,” it said.

Allegations Against Purdue Pharma

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described the introduction of OxyContin by Purdue Pharma as a severe public health concern.

Why So Long?

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As almost 30 years have passed since the introduction of OxyContin by Purdue Pharma, the long battle for compensation continues against those at the top who masterminded the entire epidemic.

The post Publicis Settles for $350 Million Over OxyContin Ads Dispute first appeared on Swift Feed.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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