Opioid Fallout: Ad Agency Sued for Allegedly Helping Purdue Deceptively Market OxyContin

  • Massachusetts AG Maura Healey sued healthcare marketing company Publicis Health, LLC (“Publicis”) under a theory of public nuisance and for violations of Massachusetts’s consumer protection law over Publicis’s alleged role in designing and deploying deceptive marketing campaigns to promote opioid drugs produced by Purdue Pharma Inc. (“Purdue”), including OxyContin.
  • The complaint alleges that, among other things, during Publicis’s decade-long work for Purdue, Publicis engaged in multiple unfair and deceptive practices designed to encourage healthcare professionals to prescribe Purdue’s opioids, including designing materials to address prescribers’ hesitancy, launching email campaigns with messaging designed to move patients from other opioids to OxyContin and to increase dosage and duration of prescribed OxyContin, and developing messaging to counter the CDC’s 2016 guidelines for prescribing opioids in order to maintain OxyContin prescribing levels.
  • The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, disgorgement, restitution, civil money penalties, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs, among other things.