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Oklahoma Reaches Multi-Million Dollar Settlement with McKinsey & Company for Role in Opioid Epidemic

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced the state of Oklahoma will receive $8.9 million as part of a 47-state, $573 million settlement with consulting firm McKinsey & Company for the company’s role in the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The settlement resolves investigations by state attorneys general into McKinsey for advising opioid companies on how to promote and devise unconscionable marketing strategies for the highly addictive drugs to increase opioid sales.

The money Oklahoma receives will go to the state treasury account created to receive opioid settlement money. According to the agreement, the money must be used by the state to abate the opioid epidemic.

Attorney General Hunter said McKinsey’s actions played a significant role in the opioid epidemic.

“As we showed at our 2019 trial against Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey came up with the playbook on how to strategically market these powerfully addictive drugs, leading to a drastic increase in the number of opioids prescribed and contributing to  the epidemic,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I am thankful to the leadership at McKinsey for working with us to reach this settlement and bringing more money into the state to abate the crisis. We know money will not erase the anguish felt by those who lost a loved one to the opioid epidemic. However, it will help us moving forward by funding treatment and prevention programs. Our trust now lies with the wisdom of our state lawmakers to appropriate this money to efforts to help end the opioid crisis. My team and I stand by ready to assist if needed.”

During the state’s 2019 opioid trial against Johnson & Johnson, the state entered evidence of presentations made by McKinsey to Johnson & Johnson that showed the company how to target high risk patients and doctors who prescribed high volumes of opioids. 

Today’s filings describe how McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by promoting these same marketing schemes and consulting services to other opioid manufacturers for over a decade. The complaint also details how McKinsey advised opioid companies on how to maximize profits from its opioid products using specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more opioids to more patients, and circumventing pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions, all while Oklahoma, and the nation, were in the deadly grips of the opioid crisis.

In December, McKinsey apologized for its role in the opioid epidemic.

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