LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas is getting a $5.4 million portion of a $573 million settlement related to the opioid epidemic.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday announced that a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories reached a $573 million settlement with one of the world’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, that resolves investigations into the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting from the opioid epidemic. When states began to sue Purdue’s directors for their implementation of McKinsey’s marketing schemes, McKinsey partners began emailing about deleting documents and emails related to their work for Purdue.
The settlement, after payment of costs, will be used to abate problems caused by opioids in the participating states. Arkansas will receive $5.4 million from the multistate settlement. This is the first multi-state opioid settlement to result in substantial payments to the states to address the epidemic.
“The opioid epidemic has torn Arkansas families apart and eroded communities. We will never forget the damage that has been done,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “This settlement will not get loved ones back but it is a step in the right direction to remedy the wrong these opioid companies have caused.”
In addition to providing funds to address the crisis, the agreement calls for McKinsey to prepare tens of thousands of internal documents detailing its work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies for public disclosure online. McKinsey 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.
Thursday’s filings describe how McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by promoting marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, for over a decade. The complaint, filed with the settlement, details how 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 to deliver high-dose prescriptions.
The states’ investigation was led by an executive committee made up of the attorneys general of 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, 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.