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McKinsey & Company to pay $573 settlement over its role in the opioid epidemic

The company was accused of advertising a way to ‘supercharge’ opioid sales

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Photo (c) Douglas Sacha - Getty Images
McKinsey & Company has agreed to pay $573 million to settle claims that advertised a way for companies to “supercharge” their opioid sales. 

Nearly 50 state governments, as well as the District of Columbia and territories, have accused the global business consulting firm of working with opioid companies to help them boost sales of high-risk opioids in 2013 -- a time when opioid prescriptions were trending downward as an effect of the opioid crisis. 

A majority of the funds from the settlement will go toward paying for treatment and rehabilitation programs in communities that have been hard-hit by the opioid crisis. McKinsey agreed to the settlement without admitting fault. 

"We chose to resolve this matter in order to provide fast, meaningful support to communities across the United States," Kevin Sneader, global managing partner of McKinsey, said in the statement. "We deeply regret that we did not adequately acknowledge the tragic consequences of the epidemic unfolding in our communities. With this agreement, we hope to be part of the solution to the opioid crisis in the U.S."

Addressing the devastation

The national settlement, which was announced Thursday, "resolves investigations 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," according to a press release from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. 

The opioid crisis has been linked to the deaths of more than 470,000 Americans since 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). James said the money from the settlement will help address the devastation the epidemic has created. 

"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," James said.

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