Attorneys general deliver $573M+ to communities to fight opioid crisis

New York State

FILE — In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, New York State Attorney General Letitia James adjusts her glasses as she announces that the state is suing the National Rifle Association during a press conference, in New York. A New York judge on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, denied the National Rifle Association’s bid to throw out a state lawsuit that seeks to put the powerful gun advocacy group out of business. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

NEW YORK (WTEN) – New York Attorney General Letitia James co-led a coalition of nearly every attorney general in delivering more than $573 million toward opioid treatment.

A filed agreement between the attorneys general and McKinsey & Company resolves investigations done by the attorneys general into the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting millions of dollars from the opioid epidemic. The funds from the agreement — more than $32 million of which will go to New York State — will be used towards decreasing the effects of excessive opioid use in the participating states.

This is the first multistate opioid agreement that will result in substantial payment to states for addressing the crisis.

“McKinsey’s cynical and calculated marketing tactics helped fuel the opioid crisis by helping Purdue Pharma target those doctors they knew would overprescribe opioids,” said Attorney General James. “They knew where the money was coming from and zeroed in on it. Under the terms of today’s agreement, the company will finally end its illegal conduct, deliver more than half a billion dollars into communities across the nation, and will never be able to help perpetrate this type of fraud and deception again. While no amount of money will ever compensate for the pain of the hundreds of thousands dead, the millions addicted, and the countless families torn apart from opioid addiction, we can ensure that those responsible for the crisis help to fund prevention, education, and treatment programs to stop additional New Yorkers and Americans across the country from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place. This is just the beginning of our fight for justice for victims, and we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent the industry from hooking more patients and causing yet additional harm.”

In addition to providing more than $573 million, minus payment of costs, to address the opioid crisis, the agreement calls for McKinsey to release tens of thousands of documents detailing its work for OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, as well as other opioid manufacturers, for public disclosure online. Additionally, McKinsey agreed to adopt a strict document retention plan, continue its investigation into allegations that two of its partners tried to destroy documents in response to investigations of Purdue Pharma, implement a strict ethics code that all partners must certify each year, and stop advising companies on potentially dangerous opioid-based Schedule II and III narcotics. 

When states began to sue Purdue’s directors for their implementation of McKinsey’s marketing schemes, McKinsey partners began emailing about deleting documents and emails related to their work for Purdue.

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