BALTIMORE, MD (February 4, 2021) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today announced a settlement against global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The $573 million settlement resolves opioid-related consumer protection charges arising from McKinsey’s role in developing marketing plans for pharmaceutical companies that contributed to the nation’s opioid crisis. The settlement includes more than $12 million to be used for abatement of the opioids epidemic in Maryland.
McKinsey charged millions of dollars for its services as a consultant for multiple opioids manufacturers accused of engaging in unfair trade practices in marketing and selling opioids. Among other unlawful actions, McKinsey counseled opioid manufacturers to target prescribers who were already prescribing notably high amounts of opioids to convince them to prescribe even more opioids in even greater strengths. It also encouraged resistance and opposition to pharmacy practices that were designed to curb excessive prescribing.
“McKinsey’s advice to Purdue acted as an accelerant to the raging fire of the opioid crisis. This settlement offers a measure of accountability for that conduct,” said Attorney General Frosh. “The money from the settlement will help Marylanders and Maryland communities struggling with the devastation and loss that opioids have wrought.”
In addition to providing needed money to abate the crisis in Maryland, the settlement bars McKinsey from advising opioids and other narcotic manufacturers in the future. The settlement also calls for McKinsey to turn over tens of thousands of internal documents related to opioids manufacturers for public disclosure online, adopt a strict document retention plan, continue its investigation into allegations that two of its partners tried to destroy documents, and implement a strict ethics code that all partners must agree to each year.
The opioid epidemic has led to extensive harm to individuals and communities in Maryland over the last 30 years. During this time, thousands of Marylanders have died from opioids overdoses – including more than 10,000 in the last five years. On an economic level, these deaths and the horrible addictions – with which thousands upon thousands of Marylanders have struggled – have created considerable costs to the State in the form of health care, child welfare, criminal justice, and many other programs needed to address the epidemic, in addition to the loss of economic opportunity and productivity. Opioid addiction, abuse, and overdose deaths have torn families apart, damaged relationships, and eroded the social fabric of communities.
In addition to Maryland, the coalition of states announcing the settlement includes Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, 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.