New Jersey Wins $9.5 Million in Landmark Opioid Settlement with Publicis Health
NEW JERSEY - In a groundbreaking development, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced a $350 million national settlement with Publicis Health, LLC, addressing the company's role in the opioid epidemic. New Jersey's share of nearly $9.5 million is a significant boost to the state's ongoing battle against opioid addiction and its devastating effects. This settlement, part of a broader national agreement, earmarks these funds exclusively for the state's use in harm abatement initiatives, a move that promises to strengthen New Jersey's efforts in addressing the opioid crisis head-on.
The settlement emerged from allegations against Publicis for engaging in practices deemed unconscionable by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Publicis's acknowledgment of the harm caused by its actions paves the way for enhanced support for communities grappling with the opioid crisis, focusing on treatment, recovery, and the development of sustainable infrastructure to save lives.
Central to the state's complaint were accusations of Publicis's involvement in marketing strategies that significantly contributed to the opioid crisis. The firm's collaboration with Purdue Pharma and other manufacturers in promoting opioid sales through various unethical practices, including exploiting personal health conversations and manipulating electronic health records, has been particularly scrutinized. These strategies not only increased opioid sales but also played a significant role in fueling the crisis that has led to over 9,800 prescription opioid overdose deaths in New Jersey over the past decade.
The agreement with Publicis not only brings financial relief but also mandates the release of thousands of internal documents that shed light on the marketing tactics used to push opioid sales. In a move towards accountability and transparency, these documents will be made publicly available, offering insight into the depth of the crisis's manipulation.
Furthering its commitment to combat the opioid epidemic, Publicis will cease all marketing efforts for opioid-based Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances. This stipulation, covering Publicis Health and its related entities, marks a significant step in curbing the promotion of opioids and addressing the root causes of the epidemic.
New Jersey's settlement with Publicis is part of a larger state effort to secure funding for opioid crisis mitigation. The state, along with eligible local governments, stands to receive approximately $1.14 billion from various nationwide legal settlements with entities implicated in the opioid crisis. These funds are designated for life-saving initiatives, addiction prevention, treatment services, and other critical efforts to alleviate the crisis's impact on communities.
The settlement underscores New Jersey's ongoing commitment to holding accountable those who have contributed to the opioid crisis. Led by a coalition of state attorneys general, this collective action represents a significant step forward in addressing the far-reaching consequences of opioid addiction and paving the way for healing and recovery across affected communities.