CT Helps Lead $573 Million Settlement with McKinsey & Co. for Role in “Turbocharging” Opioid Epidemic with Purdue Pharma

Attorney General William Tong on Thursday helped lead a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states, the District of Columbia and five US territories in a $573 million settlement with McKinsey & Company.

The settlement resolves investigations into the consulting firm’s work advising opioid companies on how to promote and profit from their drugs. Connecticut was part of a 10-state executive committee that negotiated the settlement. This is the first multistate settlement to result in substantial payments directly to the states to address and abate the opioid epidemic.

Connecticut will receive $7,513,087.22, which will be used to abate the opioid epidemic. An initial payment of $6.2 million will be paid to Connecticut in the first year, with the remainder paid over four years.

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. 

“McKinsey consultants devised a deadly roadmap for Purdue to turbocharge the opioid epidemic, with callous disregard to the human suffering they caused. The hundreds of millions of dollars they will now pay to states will go directly to abating this crisis but will never bring back those we have lost. Connecticut played a central role in these difficult negotiations to extract every possible dollar for opioid abatement, and to ensure that McKinsey’s role in the opioid epidemic is fully exposed and never repeated,” said Attorney General Tong.

Today’s filings describe how McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by selling 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 how to maximize profits, including how to target high-volume opioid prescribers, specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients, and how to circumvent pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions. The complaint also notes that when states sued 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.

Today’s filing is the latest action Connecticut has taken to combat the opioid epidemic.  Attorney General Tong continues to play a leading role in the ongoing, multistate fight to hold Purdue, the Sackler family, and the entire addiction industry accountable for the opioid epidemic they caused. Litigation against Purdue is currently on pause during their bankruptcy proceeding. Connecticut is also actively pursuing and investigating claims against our country’s largest pharmaceutical distributors who flooded states like Connecticut with mountains of powerfully addictive painkillers that they knew far exceeded legitimate prescriptions.

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.

Special Counsel for Opioids Kimberly Massicotte, Assistant Attorneys General Ann-Marie DeGraffenreidt, Eleanor Mullen, Jeremy Pearlman, Chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department, and Paralegal Samantha Bell assisted the Attorney General in this matter.