Attorney General Cameron Announces $573 Million Multistate Settlement with McKinsey & Company for Role in the Opioid Epidemic with Purdue Pharma

FRANKFORT, Ky. (February 4, 2021) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today delivered on his promise to combat the opioid epidemic and hold companies who contribute to the opioid crisis accountable by announcing a $573 million multistate settlement with one of the world’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Company (McKinsey), for its work with opioid companies. McKinsey helped those companies to promote their drugs and profit from the opioid epidemic.  This is the first multistate settlement to result in substantial payment to the states to address the opioid epidemic.

The settlement reached between McKinsey and a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories resolves the coalition’s investigation into the worldwide management-consulting firm’s marketing and consulting services to opioid manufacturers.   

“McKinsey consulted for opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, helping the manufacturers to develop aggressive marketing campaigns and maximize opioid profits,” said Attorney General Cameron.  “While no amount of money can ever compensate for the damage opioid companies have inflicted on our communities, this settlement requires McKinsey to pay over $10.8 million to the Commonwealth to combat the drug epidemic.  We will continue to seek justice for Kentuckians who have been harmed by the opioid epidemic and work to stop the practices that led to the crisis. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside my fellow attorneys general in reaching this settlement.”

Under the settlement, Kentucky will receive $10,812,204.58 and will use the settlement funds to address problems related to the opioid epidemic in Kentucky.  

In addition to the payment, the agreement calls for McKinsey to:

  • Prepare and publicly disclose, online, tens of thousands of internal documents, detailing the company’s work with Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies.
  • Adopt a strict document retention plan and continue its investigation in to 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 annually.
  • Stop advising companies on potentially dangerous Schedule II and III narcotics.

Today’s 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 Pharma 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 Purdue Pharma directors for implementing McKinsey’s marketing schemes, partners within the management-consulting firm began emailing about deleting documents and emails related to their work for Purdue.

The opioid epidemic has harmed individuals, families, and children across the Commonwealth. According to the latest report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2018 opioid use accounted for 46,802 drug overdose deaths in the United States, and Kentucky lost 989 lives to lethal overdoses involving opioids.

On the social level, opioid addiction, abuse, and overdose deaths have torn families apart, damaged relationships, and eroded the social fabric of many communities. Kentucky’s children have also paid a price in our battle with the opioid epidemic, as substance use disorders can be a contributing factor to instances of child abuse and neglect.

Attorney General Cameron was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee Texas, Utah, Vermont, 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, in the settlement.

To view a copy of the settlement, click here.