The management firm McKinsey & Co. has agreed to pay $573 million to 47 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories after newly public documents revealed the role the elite consultancy played in the national opioid-addiction epidemic. The company worked with the Sackler family-owned Purdue Pharma for 15 years to increase sales of OxyContin. When sales of the highly addictive medication began to weaken in 2013, McKinsey advised Purdue to try to encourage doctors who wrote a significant number of prescriptions for OxyContin to increase their patients’ dosage, documents show. “McKinsey’s efforts worked. The number of pills prescribed, Purdue’s profits, and McKinsey’s fees all skyrocketed,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. “But so did the number of overdoses.”
According to the terms of the settlement, McKinsey’s payments will go toward addiction treatment and other programs to combat the opioid crisis. The epidemic has led to the deaths of more than 450,000 people in the U.S. over two decades and has intensified since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.