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Tennessee Reaches $573 Million Settlement with McKinsey & Company for its Role in the Opioid Epidemic with Purdue

Tennessee will receive more than $15 million from this multistate opioid settlement
Thursday, February 04, 2021 | 10:22am

Nashville– Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today announced a $573 million settlement with one of the world’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Company. The settlement resolves the company’s role helping opioid companies promote their drugs and profit from the opioid epidemic. The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office took a lead role in the investigation and negotiations resulting in this settlement with a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

After payment of costs, funds from this multistate opioid settlement will be used to abate problems caused by opioids in the participating states. Tennessee will receive $15,217,532. Today’s filing is the latest action the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office has taken to combat the opioid epidemic and to hold accountable those who are responsible for creating and fueling the crisis.

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. In addition, McKinsey 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.

“We appreciate McKinsey taking responsibility for its part in the opioid crisis and how quickly and decisively the states and territories acted, together and on a bipartisan (yes, bipartisan) basis, to bring this to a conclusion. We will finally get some funds directed to address this longstanding problem,” said General Slatery.

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

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.

The opioid epidemic has caused considerable harm to individuals and communities in Tennessee where more than a thousand people die every year from opioid overdose. The state also has one of the highest opioid prescription rates- more than six million in 2018.

The settlement and complaint can be viewed here once available: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/attorneygeneral/documents/pr/2021/pr21-05-complaint-judgment.pdf

The states’ investigation was led by an executive committee made up of the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont. The executive committee is joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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#21-05:  Tennessee Reaches $573 Million Settlement with McKinsey & Company for its Role in the Opioid Epidemic with Purdue