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Consulting firm that allegedly helped drug companies sell opioids agrees to pay nearly $600M

Posted at 10:18 AM, Feb 05, 2021

The global business consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has agreed to pay nearly $600 million for its role in the opioid crisis.

In a deal announced Thursday with attorneys general for most states, the company agrees to make public documents showing communications with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and three other companies that have been in the opioid business.

The settlement is novel because McKinsey did not make or sell the powerful painkillers but rather advised companies that did on how to boost their business.

According to court filings, McKinsey "sold its ideas" to Purdue Pharma for more than 15 years beginning in 2004, working on efforts to expand the sales of opioids.

States say the company encouraged Purdue to focus on selling higher doses and to high-volume prescribers.

“Today’s agreement sets a new standard for accountability in one of the most devastating crises of our time,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement released to the media. “As a result, our communities will receive substantial resources for treatment, prevention, and recovery services, and families who have seen their loved ones hurt and killed by the opioid epidemic will have the truth exposed” about McKinsey.

A statement from McKinsey says they reached the settlement to provide support for communities.

“We deeply regret that we did not adequately acknowledge the tragic consequences of the epidemic unfolding in our communities. With this agreement, we hope to be part of the solution to the opioid crisis in the U.S.," the statement from Kevin Sneader, the global managing partner of McKinsey, reads.

In the agreement, McKinsey does not admit any wrongdoing.