McKinsey to pay Nevada $45M for role in opioid epidemic

New York City-based consulting firm McKinsey agreed to pay Nevada $45 million to settle the state's investigation of its role in the opioid epidemic, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said March 22.

The firm on Feb. 4 reached a $573 million agreement with 47 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories to settle investigations into counsel it provided to opioid drugmakers Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo International and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. The states that were not included in that settlement are Washington, Nevada and West Virginia. Washington reached its own $13 million settlement with McKinsey, also filed Feb. 4.

Mr. Ford said Nevada settled with McKinsey separately because the state had been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic and has experienced a spike in deaths related to opioid overdoses during the pandemic.

The complaint filed with the settlement alleges that McKinsey advised Purdue Pharma and other opioid drugmakers on how to maximize opioid sales by targeting high-volume prescribers and using misleading messaging designed to make physicians prescribe more of the highly-addictive drugs.

"We have now reached agreement with all 50 state attorneys general, as well as five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. As we noted in connection with the prior settlements, McKinsey believes its past work was lawful and has denied allegations to the contrary. The settlement agreement with Nevada, like those reached in February, contains no admission of wrongdoing or liability," a McKinsey spokesperson told Becker's March 23.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 5:05 p.m. CDT March 23 to include McKinsey's statement.

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