Log in
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Dynamic quotes 
News: Latest News
Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesBusiness LeadersFinance Pro.CalendarSectors 
All NewsEconomyCurrencies & ForexEconomic EventsCryptocurrenciesCybersecurityPress Releases

Massachusetts sues Publicis over ties to Purdue Pharma, opioids

05/06/2021 | 02:53pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: Logo of Publicis is seen at VivaTech fair in Paris

(Reuters) -Massachusetts sued a unit of French advertising company Publicis Groupe SA on Thursday, accusing it of fueling the U.S. opioid crisis by using unfair and deceptive marketing to help drugmaker Purdue Pharma sell more OxyContin.

The state attorney general Maura Healey said Publicis Health created a public nuisance from 2010 to 2019 through its work for drugmakers on campaigns to persuade doctors to prescribe more opioids, including to patients who did not need them.

Purdue alone paid Publicis more than $50 million for its work, which continued even after Publicis proposed in 2016 that Purdue shut down its sales force to "fully embrace a deeper-held responsibility" the drugmaker owed the public, Healey said.

"They knew what they were doing was wrong, they made the opioid crisis worse, and they kept cashing Purdue's checks," Healey told reporters in a Zoom meeting. "What they did was wrong. It hurt people. It killed people."

A Publicis Health spokesman said there was no legal basis for the lawsuit, and that the statute of limitations had run out. He also said the company's work was "completely lawful," and limited to implementing Purdue's advertising plan and buying ad space.

The advertising agencies Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi are among Publicis' other businesses.

Healey's lawsuit filed in a state court in Boston seeks civil penalties and restitution to victims.

It followed agreements this year by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co to pay $641 million to resolve lawsuits by all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories over its role in the opioid epidemic.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2019.

Purdue is operating in bankruptcy. In March, it proposed a restructuring plan that would steer profits to opioid victims, and require members of the Sackler family who own the company to contribute nearly $4.3 billion.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Bill Berkrot)

By Jonathan Stempel

ę Reuters 2021
Latest news "Economy & Forex"
06:07aU.S. inflation likely to remain elevated for up to four years - BofA
06:03aUK retail sales jump in June, stocks dwindle - CBI
05:49aIndonesia plans longer tenure contracts in domestic NDF market by mid-2022
05:46aTaiwan, U.S. to hold long-stalled trade talks next week
05:43aAmazon, Google face formal fake review inquiry in Britain
05:31aPanasonic sells Tesla stake for $3.6 billion
05:17aProsecutors seek trial for former Atlantia execs over 2018 bridge collapse - sources
05:16aThird of SoftBank shareholders oppose lawyer's appointment to board
05:05aOil prices rise as global inventories decline
Latest news "Economy & Forex"