by Scott McClallen
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 46 other attorneys general in a $573 million settlement with McKinsey & Co., regarding the company’s role in aggressively helping opioid companies promote their drugs.
Michigan will receive more than $19.5 million from the first opioid multistate settlement resulting in a substantial payment.
After payment of costs, the settlement will fund opioid abatement programs in participating states.
Per state law, the money will be deposited into an account with the Michigan Department of Treasury and spent on abatement efforts to combat the opioid epidemic under state health department guidance.
“This settlement is a critical step in providing resources to mitigate this crisis and we look forward to working with state agencies, the Legislature and local partners to ensure the funding is used to address this concerning issue of public health,” Nessel’s spokesman Ryan Jarvi told The Center Square.
The agreement calls for McKinsey to prepare tens of thousands of internal documents of its work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies for public disclosure online.
McKinsey agreed to adopt a strict document retention plan; investigate allegations of an attempt to destroy documents; implement a strict ethics code; and stop advising companies on potentially dangerous Schedule II and III narcotics.
“This settlement illustrates that attorneys general across this nation are committed to holding companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic and equally dedicated to securing financial resources to assist our residents and communities as we continue to address the widespread suffering caused by this crisis,” Nessel said in a statement.
“I want to be clear, this one case, while significant, is only the beginning, and our collective efforts are underway to obtain extensive additional support for those grappling with addiction and to ensure those responsible for creating it answer for their actions.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also welcomed the settlement.
“I appreciate the ongoing and important work of the Department of Attorney General to ensure accountability for the opioid crisis that has harmed so many families here in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement.
The filings describe how McKinsey allegedly contributed to the opioid crisis through marketing and consulting services to opioid manufacturers for over a decade.
The complaint alleges McKinsey advised Purdue on maximizing profits from opioid products, including targeting high-volume opioid prescribers; getting physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients; and circumventing pharmacy restrictions to deliver high-dose prescriptions.
When states began to sue Purdue’s directors for their implementation of McKinsey’s marketing schemes, McKinsey partners allegedly began emailing one another to advise deleting documents and emails related to their work for Purdue.
In 2018, 2,036 Michiganders died from an opioid overdose.
In 2019, Michigan sued major opioid distributors as drug dealers, a case still pending.
A copy of the Michigan settlement will be available once entered by the Ingham County Circuit Court and signed by the judge.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.