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McKinsey & Co Settles U.S. Opioid Lawsuits for $230 million

Published September 29, 2023
9 months ago

Global consulting firm McKinsey & Co has agreed to disburse $230m (approximately R4.4bn) in order to resolve lawsuits lodged by several U.S local governments and school districts. These litigators have accused McKinsey of instigating an opioid addiction epidemic through their work with companies in the pharmaceutical industry, including the now-bankrupt OxyContin maker, Purdue Pharma.

The settlement agreements, pending judicial endorsement, were revealed in a Federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday. They follow on from an earlier payment of $641.5m (R12.29bn), made by McKinsey to put to rest allegations made by state attorneys-general.

The fresh round of settlement sees McKinsey & Co earmarking $207m (R3.96bn) to tackle claims by counties and municipalities, as well as an additional $23m (R440.4m) to overturn claims made by public school districts.

Representing the local governments, attorney Aelish Baig hailed the settlement as a major victory for the communities inflicted with the crisis. However, despite agreeing to the settlement, McKinsey & Co still maintains that their past conduct was within the ambit of the law and firmly defends that it had already pledged in 2019 not to counsel clients on opioid-tied business anymore.

McKinsey is amongst the world's leading global consulting firms that have been accused of aiding and abetting the deadly drug crisis by assisting pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, in creating deceptive marketing strategies and driving up sales of painkillers. The opioid crisis in the U.S has been catastrophic, with nearly 645,000 people dying from opioid-involved overdoses between 1999 and 2021, as per data provided by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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