Opioid settlements announced with two companies

An arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, pictured in New York.

An arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, pictured in New York. AP File Photo/Patrick Sison


State House News Service

Published: 02-03-2024 3:09 PM

Massachusetts will receive $8 million to address the opioid crisis as part of a $350 million national settlement with Publicis Health.

Attorney General Andrea Campbell announced the settlement locally, saying it resolves the state’s litigation against the marketing and communications firm for its role in the opioid crisis, including its work for opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma.

“As part of the settlement, the company will disclose on a public website thousands of internal documents detailing its work for opioid companies and will stop accepting client work related to opioid or other opioid-based Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substances,” Campbell’s office said.

The company partnered with Purdue on dozens of contracts and collected more than $50 million “in exchange for marketing schemes to get doctors to prescribe Purdue’s opioids to more patients, in higher doses, for longer periods of time,” Campbell’s office said, summarizing the legal arguments of the AG’s Health Care Division. “The commonwealth alleged that Publicis devised marketing strategies to combat prescribers’ hesitancy to prescribe OxyContin, including materials used to train and assist Purdue sales reps in detailing doctors, and told Purdue how to target the most dangerous high prescribers.”

“For years, Publicis Health’s marketing schemes helped fuel the nationwide opioid crisis, which has shattered some of our most vulnerable communities, while creating significant financial strain on our state systems,” Campbell said. “I am proud of my team’s national leadership in securing this settlement, which will not only bolster accountability and transparency for this ongoing crisis but will also provide millions of dollars for much-needed treatment and services to support individuals and families across Massachusetts.”

Campbell also announced a multi-state settlement in principle with opioid manufacturer Hikma Pharmaceuticals, resolving claims that from 2006 to 2021, Hikma “failed to monitor and report suspicious opioid orders from potentially illegal distributors, even while its personnel knew their systems to monitor suspicious orders were inadequate and prone to failure.” Hikma will pay $150 million to participating states and localities, the AG’s office said.