Augusta, ME – Attorney General Aaron M. Frey recently joined a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories in a $573 million settlement with one of the world’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, resolving investigations into the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic.
The settlement, after payment of costs, will be used to abate problems caused by opioids in the participating states. Maine will receive $3,139,915 from the multistate settlement. This is the first multi-state opioid settlement to result in substantial payment to the states to address the 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.
“This settlement is one step toward achieving accountability and redress for the harms caused by companies which aggressively pushed opioids into states like Maine and profited greatly from it,” said Frey. “McKinsey played a critical role in advising manufacturers like Purdue in how to market their product, so this settlement is appropriate. We will continue to aggressively pursue Purdue, the Sackler family, and other manufacturers and distributors responsible for this epidemic which continues to wreak havoc on our state.”
The 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 Purdues directors for their implementation of McKinseys 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 Maine over the last 20 years. During this time, thousands of Mainers have died from a drug overdose. On an economic level, these deaths-and the impacts on Mainers who have struggled opioid addictionhave created considerable costs to the state 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.
This filing is the latest action AG Frey and his office has taken to combat the opioid epidemic and to hold accountable those who are responsible for creating and fueling the crisis. The Office of the Attorney General continues to produce regular drug death reports and is involved in litigation against several opioid manufacturers and distributors.
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.
Source: Maine AG’s Office