- McKinsey has agreed to pay $573 million to settle investigations into its role in the opioid crisis.
- The firm has been accused of boosting drug sales during the epidemic, but it won’t admit wrongdoing.
- At least 450,000 Americans have died of an opioid overdose since 1999.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Global consulting firm McKinsey & Company has agreed to pay $573 million to settle investigations into its role in boosting the sales of opioid drugs amid an epidemic that has killed nearly half a million Americans, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
McKinsey will not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, which is expected to be filed on Thursday, after coming to an agreement with attorneys general in 47 US states, the District of Columbia, and five territories, according to The Times.
The settlement comes after court documents recently revealed states were pursuing the firm for advising Purdue Pharma LP, maker of OxyContin painkiller, and other opioid manufacturers on how to sell more opioids at the same time the country was attempting to address the opioid crisis.
From 1999 to 2018, 450,000 people died from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
McKinsey’s settlement also includes limiting its work with some narcotics and making thousands of pages of documents publicly available, sources told The Times. They also said states are expected to use the settlement money on opioid treatment, prevention, and recovery.
McKinsey did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In a statement in December, McKinsey said “we recognize that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in our communities or the terrible impact of opioid misuse and addiction on millions of families across the country.”
Because of this, the statement said, the company stopped working with opioid-specific businesses in 2019.
The statement also said McKinsey’s “work with Purdue was designed to support the legal prescription and use of opioids for patients with legitimate medical needs, and any suggestion that our work sought to increase overdoses or misuse and worsen a public health crisis is wrong.”
Purdue Pharma, one of McKinsey’s clients, pled guilty to three criminal charges over its marketing of OxyContin as part of an $8 billion settlement in October. At the time, the Associated Press said it was “the highest-profile display yet of the federal government seeking to hold a major drugmaker responsible” for the opioid crisis.