Advertising giant Publicis paid $350 million to settle claims for the US opioid crisis

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A banner for Publicis Groupe SA at its headquarters in Paris, France, on Sunday, July 28, 2013.

Balint Burniczi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The healthcare division of French advertising giant Publicis has agreed to pay $350 million to settle allegations that its past marketing efforts to drugmakers helped fuel America’s opioid crisis, U.S. prosecutors announced Thursday.

The agreement represents the latest push into the prescription pill addiction epidemic, following settlements with major pharmaceutical companies totaling tens of billions of dollars.

Publicis Health said it will distribute $343 million of its total fees to all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories.

“The full settlement amount should contribute quickly and directly to America’s opioid relief efforts,” Publicis Health said in a report. statement.

The group does not admit any wrongdoing or liability as part of the settlement that resulted from three years of negotiations. But her statement said: “We recognize the broader context in which this legal action occurred.”

“The fight against the opioid crisis in the United States requires collaboration between industries, regulators and communities, and we are committed to doing our part,” the statement said.

Publicis Health noted that $130 million of its payments to states were reimbursed by its insurers. After taxes, the total fees amount to $160 million in cash, the group said.

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“For a decade, Publicis has helped opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma convince doctors to over-prescribe opioids, directly fueling the opioid crisis and causing… “The devastation of communities across the country.” press release.

“No amount of money can replace lives lost and addiction, but with this agreement, Publicis will stop its illegal behavior and pay $350 million to help our communities rebuild,” James said.

New York will receive approximately $19.2 million from the total agreement, according to the state’s consent order with Publicis Health.

The highest settlement amounts were allocated to California, Florida, and Texas, which received $34.4 million, $24.1 million, and $21.6 million, respectively.

The states acknowledged that Publicis worked with them “in good faith” and “responsible corporate citizenship” to reach the settlement.

Publicis Health noted that its work for the drug companies addressed in this settlement was mostly done by a company it owned called Rosetta, which closed a decade ago.

This action “was at all times fully compliant with the law,” the Publicis Health statement said.

She added that Rosetta’s work “was used only with health care providers, not consumers, using communication tools and language expressly approved by” the US Food and Drug Administration.

This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com

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