Kentucky to receive $6.8 million as share of opioid settlement

Published 5:30 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

Attorney General Russell Coleman announced that Kentucky will receive more than $6.8 million as its share of a multistate settlement with Publicis Health for the marketing and advertising agency’s role in fueling the opioid crisis.

According to Coleman, Publicis helped companies like Purdue Pharma promote their deadly drugs and profit off Kentuckians’ addiction. The total nationwide settlement was $350 million.

“No Kentucky community has escaped the pain of the drug crisis, and it’s well past time that the companies at the center of the addiction business are held accountable,” Coleman said. “This settlement will bring needed resources to Kentucky’s fight against addiction and support our needed three-legged stool of prevention, treatment and enforcement initiatives. I’m particularly grateful to my predecessor, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, for his leadership in holding accountable companies at the center of the drug crisis.”

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The court filings describe how Publicis developed sales tactics and messaging to help Purdue Pharma surge opioid pill sales, including OxyContin. The company was also instrumental in Purdue’s decision to market OxyContin to providers on patient’s electronic health records.

In 2022 alone, 2,135 Kentuckians lost their lives from a drug overdose. Coleman said he is building on Cameron’s momentum in the fight against the scourge of drug abuse. To date, Kentucky has secured approximately $900 million in settlement funds from the companies that pushed pills onto Kentuckians.

The matter was handled by the Attorney General’s Division Chief of Consumer and Senior Protection Chris Lewis.

The Office of Consumer Protection protects Kentucky’s citizens from unfair, false, misleading, deceptive or anticompetitive acts or practices in trade or commerce. The Office’s enforcement efforts protect not only Kentucky’s citizens but also ethical vendors of goods and services. ​​​The Office of Senior Protection was established to protect senior citizens by administering and offering a variety of services and training to protect seniors against fraud, scams and financial exploitation.

The settlement was reached between a coalition of attorneys general from all states, territories and the District of Columbia and Publicis in recognition of the harm this conduct caused.