Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul 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 epidemic. If approved by the court, Illinois will receive $11.4 million under the settlement to help address the continuing opioid crisis.
“I am proud of the work that has resulted in this settlement with Publicis Health, which builds upon the important progress we have made in our continued efforts to hold companies accountable for contributing to the opioid epidemic,” Raoul said. “I am committed to ensuring settlement resources are equitably distributed throughout the state to help fund services that help mitigate the ongoing opioid crisis.”
Today’s settlement details how Publicis’ work contributed to the opioid 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 patients’ electronic health records.
In agreeing to the terms of the settlement, Publicis will be required to disclose on a public website thousands of internal documents detailing its work for opioid companies like Purdue Pharma. Publicis must also stop accepting client work related to opioid-based Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substances.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, between 2018 and 2022, more than 13,000 Illinois residents died from an opioid overdose. These deaths – and the impacts on thousands who have struggled with opioid addiction – have created considerable costs for Illinois’ health care, child welfare and criminal justice systems. More significant than the financial burden is the addiction, substance use and overdose deaths that have torn families apart, damaged relationships and devastated communities.
In 2021, Raoul’s office negotiated the Illinois Opioid Allocation Agreement. The agreement is intended to ensure the approximately $760 million Illinois will receive through the historic national $26 billion opioid settlement agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors and Johnson & Johnson, and monies received from additional opioid settlements, are allocated equitably, including to counties and eligible municipalities. The majority of Illinois’ money will go to the Illinois Remediation Fund to be used for abatement programs throughout the state.
Raoul was joined by the attorneys general of every state and territory, as well as the District of Columbia, in announcing today’s settlement.
Attorney General Raoul urges anyone who believes they or a loved one may be addicted to opioids to seek help by calling the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances at 833-2FINDHELP, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.