Consulting Firm To Pay State $10.3M For Their Role In Opioid Epidemic

From 1999 To 2019, 9,344 Wisconsinites Died From An Opioid Overdose

Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot/AP Photo

Wisconsin has joined 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories in a $573 million agreement with consulting firm McKinsey & Company for their role in the opioid epidemic.

The state Department of Health Services will receive more than $10.3 million — over five years — from the agreement, according to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“As this case shows, getting accountability can mean additional resources to help communities mitigate the epidemic. It can also deter the kind of misconduct that could lead to future epidemics,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said in the statement. “We will continue pursuing accountability from companies that fueled the opioid epidemic.”

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The coalition of state attorneys general allege that McKinsey & Company is partly responsible for the opioid epidemic for helping manufacturers — including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma — market their drugs for over a decade.

According to the release, “McKinsey advised Purdue on how to maximize profits from its opioid products, including targeting high-volume opioid prescribers, using specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients, and circumventing pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions.”

From 1999 to 2019, 9,344 Wisconsinites died from an opioid overdose, according to the release.

“We’ve lost our family members, friends, and neighbors to the opioid epidemic, and so many Wisconsinites have had to experience the tragedy of this epidemic firsthand,” Gov. Tony Evers said in the release. “These funds will be critically important as we continue to help and support those working to overcome problem use of opioids and build on our work to end this tragic crisis.”

Thursday’s resolution is the latest action Kaul and the DOJ has taken to combat the opioid epidemic. In March 2019, the DOJ joined a multistate investigation of opioid distributors, and in May 2019, Kaul announced lawsuits filed against two Purdue Pharma entities and Richard S. Sackler for false marketing practices.