Consulting firm McKinsey & Co has reached a settlement to pay $230 million in response to allegations that it contributed to the US opioid crisis through its work with Purdue Pharma and other drug companies. The settlements, subject to court approval, were revealed in federal court filings.
- The $230 million is in addition to the $641.5 million that McKinsey had already paid to settle claims by state attorneys-general. This settlement specifically addresses lawsuits filed by hundreds of US local governments, school districts, counties, municipalities, and public school districts.
- Aelish Baig, a lawyer representing the affected local governments, hailed the settlement as a positive outcome for the communities impacted by the opioid crisis.
- McKinsey has not admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement. The company maintains that its past work was conducted lawfully and has emphasized that it ceased advising clients on any opioid-related business in 2019.
- This settlement comes in the wake of thousands of lawsuits filed against drug companies, distributors, and pharmacies, accusing them of downplaying the risks of opioid painkillers and turning a blind eye to illegal trafficking.
- The opioid crisis has caused immense devastation, with nearly 645,000 deaths in the US attributed to opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2021, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- The settlement with McKinsey is part of a broader effort to hold responsible parties accountable for their alleged roles in fueling the opioid epidemic. The total settlements in opioid-related lawsuits have exceeded $51 billion so far, with major drug manufacturers and distributors already reaching agreements.