Utah will get $6M as part of opioid settlement with McKinsey

Utah joined 47 states, DC and five territories in a suit against the consulting company.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced Wednesday that Utah will receive $6,371,680 as part of a multi-state lawsuit against consulting giant McKinsey & Company.

McKinsey allegedly fueled the country’s opioid epidemic by advising opioid companies, including Purdue Pharma, on how to promote and profit from their drugs. The company reached a $573 million national settlement with 47 states, five territories and Washington, D.C., over their role in the opioid epidemic.

The company will also have to release tens of thousands of internal documents about its work for drug companies and will have to implement a code of ethics.

“I’m very pleased that this settlement holds McKinsey accountable and is part of a growing list of successful actions against those who profited from the opioid crisis,” Reyes said in a news release. “Far too many people have suffered and died. Families still grieve daily. Misery from this epidemic continues and is only starting to abate. We will continue to pursue legal action against those who acted irresponsibly and enriched themselves at society’s expense. The human cost in Utah and other states is incalculable.”

According to the news release, proceeds from the settlement will be deposited into the Opioid Litigation Settlement Restricted Account, which was created by the Legislature in 2020 to address the effects of alleged violations related to the manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sale of opioids.

Pharmaceutical companies including Purdue Pharma spent nearly a million dollars on doctors in Utah between 2013 and 2017 in order to promote their opioids. Hundreds of Utahns died each year from opioid overdoses in that same timeframe. Rural counties were hit especially hard by the epidemic.

Utah filed its own complaint against McKinsey on Thursday. Richard Piatt from the Attorney General’s office said that Utah-specific complaint is the mechanism for formalizing the terms of the multi-state settlement. He said other states will file similar complaints in their own jurisdictions.

The complaint says McKinsey sold its ideas to Purdue Pharma for over 15 years. McKinsey advised companies to target prescribers who write the most prescriptions for the most patients to make more money, according to the complaint. McKinsey told Purdue its could increase sales by targeting doctors to get them to prescribe more OxyContin.

McKinsey told Purdue Pharma it “should strive to become a provider across the spectrum of drug abuse and addiction because of the opportunities it presented,” according to the complaint. This included selling opioid addiction treatments to profit off of addiction and drug abuse.

The opioid epidemic has killed thousands in Utah and has cost billions in health care, criminal justice and child welfare, according to the complaint.