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Mississippi to receive $2.9 million over ad agency Publicis Health’s role in opioid crisis

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Mississippi is part of a $350 million national settlement with Publicis Health over the advertising agency’s role in the prescription opioid crisis.

According to Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Mississippi is set to receive $2.9 million of the settlement’s funds after Publicis allegedly contributed to the crisis by helping Purdue Pharma and other manufacturers market and sell opioids.

Court documents show that Publicis acted as Purdue’s agency of record for all its branded opioid drugs, including OxyContin, and developed sales tactics that relied on farming data from recordings of personal health-related in-office conversations between patients and providers.

“Since 1999, opioids have stolen the lives of one million people. These are loved mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors,” Fitch explained. “Today’s settlement is an important step in holding companies accountable for their role in the decimation of these lives, families and communities.”

According to the Mississippi Prescription Monitoring Program, 78.4 percent of the 358 suspected overdose deaths reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in 2022 were opioid-related.

As part of the terms of the settlement, Publicis will disclose on a public website thousands of internal documents detailing its work for opioid companies like Purdue Pharma and will stop accepting client work related to opioid-based Schedule II or other Schedule II narcotics.

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