Local governments in Northwest Florida and Miami-Dade County have filed lawsuits against the multinational consulting company McKinsey & Company for prior work in assisting with the marketing of opioids.
From Tallahassee to Pensacola, eight Northwest Florida counties and four localities filed a complaint in federal court in Panama City. Miami-Dade County and the communities of Miami Gardens and North Miami filed a similar complaint in federal court in Miami.
The complaints centre on McKinsey's work for Purdue Pharma in the marketing of OxyContin, which is largely blamed for the country's opioid crisis. According to the complaints, McKinsey was instrumental in causing and exacerbating the opioid problem.
According to the complaints, most of the firm's activity followed Purdue Pharma's 2007 "corporate integrity agreement" with the federal government in a criminal case involving OxyContin misbranding.
McKinsey was aware of the hazards of opioids and Purdue's previous misbehaviour, but it recommended Purdue to wrongly advertise and sell OxyContin, providing granular sales and marketing plans and being intimately involved throughout execution, according to the plaintiffs. McKinsey's efforts caused and extended the opioid epidemic by increasing sales of OxyContin and other painkillers.
Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, and Santa Rosa counties, as well as the towns of Niceville, Panama City, Pensacola, and Tallahassee, are the plaintiffs in the Northwest Florida lawsuit. Many of the same lawyers are representing the plaintiffs in both instances.
McKinsey has been sued in other regions of the country for its work with opioid producers, and in 2021 agreed to a deal with 49 state attorneys general, including the Florida Attorney General, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. In the settlement, it agreed to pay around $600 million while stating in a news statement at the time that it thinks its previous work was legal and has refuted charges to the contrary.
In 2019, the corporation ceased opioid-related activity. In testimony before a U.S. House committee in April 2022, McKinsey's global managing partner stated that the firm's "work for Purdue was focused on genuine prescribers and an abuse-deterrent formulation."
Nonetheless, the corporation acknowledged and publicly said that it did not fully acknowledge the emerging pandemic, and that the effort fell short of our standards, according to the official in a statement to the committee. As a result, it chose in 2019 to discontinue all efforts on opioid-specific business internationally, and has committed to becoming a part of the solution to this critical problem. As part of that promise, the corporation is proactively engaging with state attorneys general throughout the country in early 2021 to negotiate a settlement that would deliver more than $600 million to prevention, treatment, and recovery programmes nationwide. Rather than suing the states, we collaborated with the attorneys general to give crucial assistance to hard-hit communities around the country.
The new Florida cases allege a variety of offences, including racketeering, unjust enrichment, and causing a public nuisance. They seek monetary compensation for the expenses of providing medical treatment to opioid addicts, caring for children whose parents are addicted, and the expenditures of social services and criminal justice.
According to the claims, McKinsey's unlawful behaviour, including its misrepresentations and omissions about opioids in general and Purdue's opioids in particular, has fuelled an opioid crisis in plaintiffs' communities that is a public nuisance. McKinsey and Purdue purposefully aggravated a problem that impacts entire governments, counties, towns, and neighborhoods.