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McKinsey reaches deal with U.S. local governments over opioids

Leading consulting firm McKinsey & Co has agreed to settle claims by hundreds of U.S. local governments and school districts around the country that it fueled an epidemic of opioid addiction through its work for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and other drug companies.

October 28, 2022
By Brendan Pierson
28 October 2022

By Brendan Pierson

Oct 27 (Reuters) – Leading consulting firm McKinsey & Co
has agreed to settle claims by hundreds of U.S. local
governments and school districts around the country that it
fueled an epidemic of opioid addiction through its work for
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and other drug companies.

The deal was disclosed in a court filing Wednesday evening
in San Francisco federal court. Its terms were not made public,
and McKinsey and a lawyer for the settling plaintiffs did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.

McKinsey previously agreed to pay more than $600 million to
settle opioid claims brought by all U.S. states and territories,
and had argued that those settlements should shield it from
local governments’ and school districts’ lawsuits. It has not
admitted wrongdoing.

The firm still faces claims by Native American tribes and
claims on behalf of children exposed to opioids in the womb,
which can cause withdrawal symptoms at birth and long-term
health and developmental problems.

Plaintiffs accuse the company of advising drugmakers to use
aggressive tactics to boost opioid sales, including by targeting
doctors known to be heavy prescribers.

The U.S. opioid crisis has caused more than 500,000 overdose
deaths over two decades, according to federal government data.
More than 3,300 lawsuits have been filed accusing drugmakers,
distributors and pharmacy chains of fueling the crisis, which
have so far yielded more than $30 billion in settlements.

Purdue is in bankruptcy and is seeking to resolve opioid
claims against it through a proposed $6 billion settlement
funded by members of its founding Sackler family. The company
also pleaded guilty to opioid-related criminal charges in 2007
and 2020.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Additional reporting
by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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