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McKinsey & Co close to deal with state AGs for role in opioid crisis: report

McKinsey & Co close to deal with state AGs for role in opioid crisis: report
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Management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. is reportedly nearing a settlement with state attorneys general following the release of court filings indicating that it made recommendations to Purdue Pharma and other manufacturers accused of playing a role in the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic. 

The Wall Street Journal reported the potential settlement Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. 

The sources told the Journal that the deal could be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, though discussions are ongoing and an official agreement is not yet certain. 

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In recent months, court documents have indicated that McKinsey made recommendations to Purdue on how to increase sales of its OxyContin painkiller, one of the main drugs tied to opioid addictions and overdose deaths across the country. 

According to the Journal, McKinsey has told states it would be open to an agreement that would prevent attorneys general from filing civil lawsuits against the consulting firm. 

The Journal noted, however, that a potential settlement would not include other possible legal liability, including future claims against Perdue or its creditors. 

McKinsey announced that it had stopped working on any opioid-specific businesses in 2019, adding in a statement at the time that it did not properly recognize “the terrible impact of opioid misuse and addiction on millions of families across the country.”

When reached for comment on the reported settlement talks, a McKinsey spokesperson told The Hill that the company "continues to cooperate with government agencies on matters relating to our past work for opioid manufacturers and we will not be commenting further at this time.”

Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty in November to fraud and kickback conspiracies in an $8 billion settlement with the Department of Justice. Members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, agreed to pay $225 million — an estimated 2 percent of the family’s net worth — to resolve civil claims. 

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Court papers filed in reference to the plea included details on a previously unnamed consulting company that provided guidance on sales of OxyContin from 2013 and 2018, which recently unsealed court documents revealed to be McKinsey, the Journal reported. 

In December, members of the Sackler family testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, in which they largely dodged questions about Purdue’s marketing tactics, claiming they were unaware and, instead, placing responsibility on the company itself. 

The Sackler family has continued to deny any personal wrongdoing in the opioid crisis while also attempting to settle thousands of civil claims filed against them and Purdue Pharma by states and cities claiming they fueled an epidemic that has killed more than 400,000 people.

Updated at 11:47 a.m.