Tennessee to receive $15.2M from settlement with McKinsey over role in opioid crisis

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Tennessee will receive part of a $573 million settlement between global consulting firm McKinsey & Company and 54 states and territories over the firm’s role in consulting opioid manufacturers on how to best market and profit from opioid drug sales.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced Thursday that Tennessee will receive more than $15.2 million from the settlement. The state will use the funds to address problems created by opioids in the state.

More than 1,000 people die of opioid overdoses each year in Tennessee. According to the settlement, McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by providing consulting and marketing services to opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, which produces OxyContin, for more than a decade.

Court documents outline how McKinsey advised Purdue on how to circumvent pharmacy restrictions to deliver high-dose prescriptions, how to target high-volume opioid prescribers, and on specific messaging to get doctors to prescribe more OxyContin to patients.

“We deeply regret that we did not adequately acknowledge the tragic consequences of the epidemic unfolding in our communities,” McKinsey Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader said in a statement. “With this agreement, we hope to be part of the solution to the opioid crisis in the U.S.”

According to the complaint, McKinsey partners exchanged emails about deleting documents and emails relating to work for Purdue when states began filing lawsuits against the opioid manufacturer. McKinsey agreed in the settlement to prepare and disclose online thousands of internal documents detailing its work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies.

“We appreciate McKinsey taking responsibility for its part in the opioid crisis and how quickly and decisively the states and territories acted, together and on a bipartisan (yes, bipartisan) basis, to bring this to a conclusion,” Slatery said in a statement. “We will finally get some funds directed to address this longstanding problem.”

Slatery was one of 10 state attorneys general who were on the executive committee for the investigation.

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