Much has been written about the epidemic of opioid addiction, overdoses, and deaths in America. The last 25 years have been some of medicine's darkest in decades.
Thankfully, a harsh financial reckoning continues for the companies that manufactured and pushed these drugs on consumers.
Now we learn that another enabler, the giant corporate consulting firm Kinsley & Company, has been caught up in the reckoning. They have just agreed to pay almost $600 million to settle an investigation into their role in the misinformation scandal that led to so many ruined lives.
Turns out that a number of government lawyers uncovered documents showing that Kinsley & Company advocated aggressive opioid sales tactics with their client Purdue Pharma even after the harm of doing so was well documented.
According to the New York Times,
McKinsey's extensive work with Purdue included advising it to focus on selling lucrative high-dose pills, the records show, even after the drugmaker pleaded guilty in 2007 to federal criminal charges that it had misled doctors and regulators about OxyContin's risks. The firm also told Purdue that it could "band together" with other opioid makers to head off "strict treatment" by the Food and Drug Administration.
The records highlight McKinsey's close relationship with Purdue over many years. In 2009, the firm wrote a report for Purdue saying that new sales tactics would increase sales of OxyContin by as much as $400 million annually and suggested "sales 'drivers' based on the idea that opioids reduce stress and make patients more optimistic and less isolated," according to a lawsuit filed in 2018 by Massachusetts. McKinsey worked with Purdue executives in finding ways "to counter the emotional messages from mothers with teenagers that overdosed" on the drug.
Just think about that last statement, "McKinsey worked with Purdue executives in finding ways "to counter the emotional messages from mothers with teenagers that overdosed" on the drug."
Four-hundred and fifty thousand mothers in this country have lost their children to opioid overdoses.
And yet, that didn't matter to McKinsey. What did matter was profit. Profit for them, and profit for their client, Purdue Pharma.
What will be done with the settlement dollars?
Nearly $600 million will go to the states to be used for opioid treatment, prevention, and recovery programs.
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