Attorney General William Tong

Connecticut Settles With Consulting Company That ‘Turbocharged' Opioid Crisis: Attorney General

$7.5 million will go to fighting the opioid crisis in Connecticut from a multi-state settlement with McKinsey & Company

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Attorney General William Tong announced a multi-state settlement against a global business consulting firm in connection to its work with Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies, in Tong's words, to help contribute to the opioid crisis in Connecticut and the United States.

McKinsey & Company has agreed to a $573 million settlement over its role in advising companies on developing marketing strategies to increase sales of opioids and to stymie regulations surrounding the drugs, according to Tong.

"McKinsey consultants devised a deadly roadmap for Purdue to turbocharge the opioid epidemic, with callous disregard to the human suffering they caused. The hundreds of millions of dollars they will now pay to states will go directly to abating this crisis but will never bring back those we have lost. Connecticut played a central role in these difficult negotiations to extract every possible dollar for opioid abatement, and to ensure that McKinsey’s role in the opioid epidemic is fully exposed and never repeated,” Tong said.

Connecticut will receive more than $7.5 million as part of the settlement. The money will be allocated by the state to help abate the opioid epidemic. The state will receive an initial payment of $6.2 million and the remainder will be paid over four years.

The settlement includes 47 states, five U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C.

A court filing submitted today accuses McKinsey of turbocharging the opioid epidemic by selling marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers, including Stamford-bases Purdue Pharma.

Manchester mom Paige Niver says her daughter was just 14 years old when she became addicted to pain medication.

“It turns out the day of the bicycle accident was the last time I saw my daughter sober till she was 20 years old,” Paige Niver said.

She is celebrating the settlement, but pointed out that many started a painful journey of addiction because of these marketing schemes.

“They said that people would develop a tolerance for it and so then you had to up the dose a little bit to receive the same kind of pain adjustment,” Niver said.

The company advised Purdue how to maximize profits, how to target high-volume opioid prescribers, create specific messaging to get doctors to prescribe more Oxycontin to more patients, and how to circumvent pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions, according to Tong.

Purdue is in bankruptcy court to try to settle lawsuits against it. The company has proposed a settlement that could be worth $10 billion over time. The company last year also pleaded guilty to criminal charges in part of a settlement with the federal government. Both Purdue and members of the Sackler family who own the firm agreed to pay $225 million to the U.S. government as part of the deal.

A group of the largest drug distribution companies plus drugmaker Johnson & Johnson have also been working on a national settlement.

NBC Connecticut and Associated Press
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