McKinsey's opioid consulting posed conflict of interest, report alleges

McKinsey consulted with the FDA on issues related to the opioid epidemic at the same time it worked with opioid makers, which lawmakers say in a new federal report created "significant, yearslong conflicts of interest."

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform issued the 53-page report April 13, and it found 22 McKinsey consultants were allowed to simultaneously work with the federal government and major opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma. The report also alleges McKinsey consultants leveraged their connections with the FDA to secure more consulting work with drugmakers. 

"Today's report shows that at the same time the FDA was relying on McKinsey's advice to ensure drug safety and protect American lives, the firm was also being paid by the very companies fueling the deadly opioid epidemic to help them avoid tougher regulation of these dangerous drugs," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said April 13.

In a statement on its website, McKinsey said it plans to review the federal report and cooperate with the committee to address questions. 

"Since we stopped advising clients on opioid-related business in 2019, we have continued to improve our policies around governance and client selection," the consulting firm said. "We understand and accept the scrutiny around our past client service to opioid manufacturers. This work, while lawful, fell short of the high standards we set for ourselves."

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