Big Pharma consulting firm to pay millions for opioid epidemic

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One of the world’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, will pay millions in a multi-state settlement according to the Delaware Department of Justice.

WILMINGTON (DE) 02/04/21: One of the world’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, will pay millions in a multi-state settlement according to the Delaware Department of Justice.

Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced the $2.58 million settlement Thursday. after resolving investigations into the company’s role in helping opioid companies promote their drugs and profiting from the opioid epidemic. The settlement is part of a multistate settlement of $573 million.

Photo | Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings

“These are the first damages Delaware’s recovered from the people responsible for the opioid crisis, but they won’t be the last,” said Attorney General Jennings. “McKinsey helped Big Pharma profit – and profited itself – off of thousands of Delawareans’ pain and suffering. We can never bring back the lives that were lost in Big Pharma’s pursuit of profit, but settlements like this give us the resources to get help to those who are still grappling with the devastation that this epidemic has caused across our state.”

We can never bring back the lives that were lost in Big Pharma’s pursuit of profit, but settlements like this give us the resources to get help to those who are still grappling with the devastation that this epidemic has caused across our state. | Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings

This is the first multistate opioid settlement to result in substantial payment to the states to address the epidemic. The settlement amount exceeds the total revenue that McKinsey collected from its opioid clients. Delaware will receive just over $2.58 million from the settlement, which will be used to abate the harms caused by the opioid crisis in Delaware.

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According to court documents, In addition to providing funds to address the crisis, the agreement calls for McKinsey to prepare tens of thousands of its internal documents detailing its work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies for public disclosure online. McKinsey further agreed to stop advising companies on potentially dangerous Schedule II and Schedule III narcotics, continue its investigation into allegations that two of its partners tried to destroy documents in response to investigations of Purdue Pharma, implement a strict ethics code that all partners must agree to each year, and adopt a strict document retention plan. 

“Thursday’s filings describe how, for more than a decade, McKinsey’s work promoting marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers—including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma—contributed to the opioid crisis.,” Said Mat Marshall, a spokesman with the Delaware DOJ. “Delaware’s complaint details how McKinsey advised Purdue on how to maximize profits from its opioid products, including targeting high-volume opioid prescribers, using specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients, and circumventing pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions.”

When states began to sue Purdue’s directors for their implementation of McKinsey’s marketing schemes, McKinsey partners began emailing about deleting documents and emails related to their work for Purdue., Marshall said.

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The opioid epidemic has devastated Delaware over the last 20 years. During this time, drug overdoses claimed thousands of Delawareans’ lives. The crisis has torn families apart, increased crime, and eroded the social fabric of communities. It’s also driven mounting costs in health care, child welfare, criminal justice, and other programs needed to combat the epidemic. 

Today’s filing is the latest action Attorney General Jennings and the Department of Justice have taken to combat the opioid epidemic and to hold accountable those who are responsible for creating and fueling the crisis. The State has also filed complaints against the Sackler family and against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies.

In the coming weeks, Attorney General Jennings will work with partners in Dover to recommend legislation establishing a statewide Commission to govern the expenditure of opioid settlement funds.  Once created, the settlement funds will be placed in the care of that Commission to direct spending to address Delaware’s opioid crisis.

In response to the settlements, McKinsey confirms the agreements with 49 state attorneys with their past work for opioid manufacturers in a public release.

On February 4th, 2021, McKinsey entered into agreements with 49 State Attorneys General, the District of Columbia and five US territories, which resolve matters relating to our past work for opioid manufacturers., the statement said.

“We recognize that this work, while lawful, fell short of the high standards we set for ourselves and that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in communities across the country. We decided nearly two years ago to end all work on opioid-specific business and have committed to being part of the solution to this serious challenge.”

The company added, “McKinsey has continued to take steps to strengthen its client selection policies, professional standards, and its risk and governance processes to ensure our work is consistent with our values and commitment to social responsibility.”

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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