Louisiana secures multi-million dollar settlement with McKinsey & Co for its role in Opioid Epidemic

Published 11:38 am Thursday, February 4, 2021

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BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry has joined Louisiana to a coalition of 47 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories in a $573 million settlement with McKinsey & Company – resolving investigations into the massive consulting firm’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic.

The settlement will be used to abate problems caused by opioids in the participating states. Louisiana will receive $6.9 million from the multistate settlement. This is the first multistate opioid settlement to substantially pay the states to address the epidemic.

“This is a great start in holding accountable those who have stoked the fire of the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Landry. “My office and I will continue working to treat the addicted, relieve their families, and protect the public from this horrific epidemic.”

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.

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 led to considerable harm to individuals and communities in Louisiana for years. On an economic level, these deaths – and the impacts on those who have struggled with opioid addiction – have created considerable costs to Louisiana in the form of health care, child welfare, criminal justice, and many other programs needed to lessen the epidemic. It has also resulted in lost economic opportunity and productivity. On the social level – opioid addiction, abuse, and overdose deaths have torn families apart, damaged relationships, and eroded the social fabric of communities.

Attorney General Landry has fought tirelessly for years to end the epidemic in Louisiana. In addition to investigations and lawsuits against those who helped create and prolong this epidemic, Attorney General Landry has begun a number of initiatives in the State. In partnership with the Louisiana Ambulance Alliance, he created the “End the Epidemic LA” informational campaign. He supported measures by the Legislature to limit first-time prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to a seven-day supply and to strengthen the Prescription Monitoring Program. Through a legal settlement with Pfizer, he made available $1 million worth of single draw-down doses of naloxone to Louisiana’s first responders, at no cost to their agencies. He has also partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators to place drug take back boxes across the State.

Joining Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry in the settlement were the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, 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, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.