Arizona gets $8M in settlement with marketing firm accused of fueling US opioid epidemic

Feb 2, 2024, 12:00 PM

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy...

Publicis Health helped develop marketing campaigns for OxyContin and other prescription painkillers. (AP File Photo)

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s portion of an international marketing firm’s multimillion-dollar settlement over its role in the U.S. opioid crisis is about $8 million, officials announced Thursday.

Publicis Health agreed to pay $350 million overall, which will flow to every state in the next two months, to settle the complaint.

The advertising agency, part of the Paris-based media conglomerate Publicis Groupe, helped develop marketing campaigns for OxyContin and other prescription painkillers.

“This settlement marks another step in our efforts at holding accountable those who have contributed to Arizona’s opioid crisis,” state Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a press release.

“While settlement dollars cannot reverse the harm caused to so many Arizonans and their families, they will help substantially in our state’s ongoing prevention and recovery efforts.”

How many Arizonas have died from opioid overdoses?

Nearly 11,000 Arizonans have died from opioid overdoses since 2017, including almost 1,800 in 2023, according to the state Department of Health Services.

As part of the settlement, Publicis agreed to release internal documents detailing its work for Purdue and other companies that made opioids.

The company said in a statement that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing and noted that most of the work subject to the settlement was done by Rosetta, a company owned by Publicis that closed 10 years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona gets $8M in settlement with marketing firm accused of fueling US opioid epidemic