The consulting firm McKinsey & Company has agreed to a $573 million opioid settlement for its role in fueling a national epidemic.
Opioid Settlement With 53 Attorneys General
According to a court filing in Massachusetts on February 4, 2021, McKinsey has settled with attorneys general in 47 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia.
The states of Washington, West Virginia, and Nevada were not included in the opioid settlement, though the Washington attorney general’s office announced that it had already reached its own $13 million deal with the consulting firm. Several counties and cities across the country have also sued McKinsey in recent weeks, and the agreement does not prevent the Biden administration from taking further legal action.
Most of the funds will be used to pay for opioid prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs, $478 million of which must be released within 60 days. Over the past two decades, the opioid crisis has contributed to the deaths of more than 450,000 people in the United States.
McKinsey’s opioid settlement will represent the first money that states will receive after Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, agreed last year to pay $8.3 billion and plead guilty to federal criminal charges over its marketing practices. Because Purdue declared bankruptcy, the states who were party to that agreement have to line up with other creditors seeking payment.
McKinsey Worked to “Turbocharge” Opioid Sales
Purdue was a McKinsey client, and the firm soon faced a rash of lawsuits across the country in the wake of Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings. These proceedings revealed internal documents demonstrating how McKinsey worked to “turbocharge” Purdue’s opioid sales long after the risks of addiction had been well known. The McKinsey materials released in litigation go back as far as 2004 and as recently as 2019.
The records highlight the consulting firm’s longstanding relationship with Purdue. In 2009, McKinsey wrote a report for the company asserting that new marketing tactics could increase sales of OxyContin by as much as $400 million annually, recommending “sales ‘drivers’ based on the idea that opioids reduce stress and make patients more optimistic and less isolated.” McKinsey also worked with Purdue executives to find ways “to counter the emotional messages from mothers with teenagers that overdosed” on the painkiller.
After the federal government reached a 2013 settlement with Walgreens to crack down on illegal opioid prescriptions, resulting in plummeting sales, McKinsey reportedly argued that Purdue should “lobby Walgreens’ leaders to loosen up.”
McKinsey also proposed several ideas for Purdue to shore up its sales in a 2017 slide presentation, including giving distributors a rebate for each OxyContin overdose attributable to pills they sold. McKinsey estimated that 2,484 CVS customers would overdose or develop a substance abuse problem in 2019 alone from taking OxyContin. CVS said it never implemented the plan.
As part of its deal, McKinsey will be required to make public tens of thousands of internal documents detailing its work for Purdue and other opioid clients, which include Johnson & Johnson, Endo International, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. According to reports, the amount of the opioid settlement is significantly greater than what the firm earned by working on behalf of these companies.
Additionally, McKinsey admits to no wrongdoing under the terms of the agreement.
Personal Injury Lawyers Fighting Corporate Greed
As the details of McKinsey’s opioid settlement make painfully clear, far too often businesses value the bottom line over the public good, frequently with devastating, even deadly results.
It is for this reason that GWC Injury Lawyers LLC has dedicated itself to fighting for the innocent victims of corporate greed for more than four decades. Our personal injury attorneys have worked tirelessly on behalf of the average person to make sure that even the largest companies can never hold themselves above the law. With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our wrongfully injured clients, GWC has the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation of success you need to help get you and your family the justice you deserve.
To schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our Chicago personal injury lawyers, contact GWC today. You can call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.