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McKinsey agrees to settlement to resolve its role in promoting opioid epidemic

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McKinsey & Company has agreed to a $573 million settlement to resolve investigations into the consulting firm’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic.

Virginia will receive $13.6 million from the multistate settlement, per a release from the office of Attorney General Mark Herring on Thursday.

The funds from the settlement will most likely be put into an opioid abatement program that Herring is currently working with House Majority Leader Charniele Herring and Sen. George Barker to get passed in the General Assembly, according to the release.

“The opioid epidemic continues to directly impact the lives of Virginians and their families and every community across the Commonwealth has felt its devastating effects,” Herring said. “The role pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors played in creating and prolonging this crisis is clear – but they are not alone in their culpability. McKinsey provided Purdue Pharma with the marketing plans and materials to push millions of pills and prescriptions into our communities, and they must be held accountable for their catastrophic actions.

“I will continue to go after pharmaceutical companies and those that they worked with, who chose over and over again to put profits over human lives. I hope that this settlement demonstrates just why it’s so important for Virginia to set up a framework to make sure that any money goes straight to addressing the opioid crisis head on, expanding access to treatment, and saving lives.”

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 also agreed to adopt a strict document retention plan, 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 stop advising companies on potentially dangerous Schedule II and III narcotics.

The filings describe how McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by promoting marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, for over a decade.

The complaint, that will be filed with the settlement, 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.


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