HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Attorney General William Tong announced Thursday Connecticut has helped lead a coalition of attorneys general in a $573-million settlement with McKinsey & Company.
Attorney generals from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories were involved in the coalition, which set out to hold the consulting firm responsible for its work advising opioid companies on how to promote and profit from their drugs.
Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong says McKinsey’s role was to “turbocharge Purdue Pharma’s actions and marketing strategy in marketing oxycontin.” He adds that they employed tactics like targeting high volume subscribers and found ways to get around regulators.
And once the company realized the nation had an addiction crisis, they saw another revenue opportunity, says Tong.
He says of McKinsey, they “encouraged Purdue to develop anti-addiction drugs to confront the crisis they started.”
“We recognize that this work, while lawful, fell short of the high standards we set for ourselves and that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in communities across the country,” the company said in a statement. “We decided nearly two years ago to end all work on opioid-specific business and have committed to being part of the solution to this serious challenge.”
Officials said Connecticut was part of a 10-state executive committee that negotiated the settlement, adding that this is the first multistate settlement to result in substantial payments directly to the states to address and abate the opioid epidemic.
Connecticut will receive $7,513,087.22 from the settlement. AG Tong, who has met directly with families negatively impacted by the opioid crisis, said the money will be used to abate the epidemic.
An initial payment of $6.3-million will be made to the state, with the remainder of the payments being paid out over a four-year period.
“What that means,” Tong explained, “is that we are going to have resources to fight and to save the people that we might otherwise lose, and to honor the lives of those we’ve already lost.”
Tong says, every year opioid addiction costs our state more than $10-billion in damages and more than 1,000 deaths.
He’s working hard to pursue all those responsible for the crisis in, what Tong calls, the ‘addiction industry.’
“From manufacturers to distributors, even healthcare providers, retailers, and consultants.”
“In addition to providing funds to address the crisis, the agreement calls for McKinsey to prepare tens of thousands of its internal documents detailing its work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies for public disclosure online,” officials said.
McKinsey also 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 agree to each year, and stop advising companies on potentially dangerous Schedule II and III narcotics.
“McKinsey consultants devised a deadly roadmap for Purdue to turbocharge the opioid epidemic, with callous disregard to the human suffering they caused,” said Tong in a statement. “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.”
Other entities involved include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont. The executive committee is joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, 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.