Vermont Nets $1.5 Million in Opioid Settlement With McKinsey | Off Message

Vermont Nets $1.5 Million in Opioid Settlement With McKinsey


OxyContin on a pharmacy shelf - DREAMSTIME
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  • OxyContin on a pharmacy shelf
Vermont will receive $1.5 million in a multistate deal with the consulting firm McKinsey to settle legal claims over its work with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma to boost opioid sales.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced on Thursday the state's sliver of a reported $573 million settlement with 47 states.

McKinsey, a behemoth in the consulting industry, advised Purdue on its marketing strategy for OxyContin for 15 years, until 2019. Company documents to be disclosed publicly as part of the settlement detailed efforts to "turbocharge" sales of the prescription opioid at the root of a substance abuse epidemic, Donovan said. The company's advice included targeting high-volume prescribers.

"They aided and abetted Purdue Pharma and others in creating the opioid crisis," Donovan said.
The settlement avoids potential litigation by state attorneys general, who, along with the federal government and numerous municipalities, have pursued claims against the massively profitable companies involved in the production and distribution of prescription opioids. It represents the first money to actually be paid out through a multistate deal.

Vermont was one of 10 states that spearheaded the negotiations with McKinsey, according to the attorney general's office. The company did not admit wrongdoing.

McKinsey will pay $1.2 million to Vermont within 60 days, with the remaining $260,000 to be paid over the next four years. State lawmakers will decide how to allocate the funds, though Donovan and other attorneys general said the money should go to help address the opioid crisis.

The company also agreed not to consult on opioid sales, among other internal policy changes.

Vermont and many other states have filed pending lawsuits against opioid distributers Cardinal Health and McKesson. The state has sued Purdue Pharma and eight members of its ultra-rich owners, the Sackler family. It's unclear how much money the state will reap against Purdue, or when; the company is in bankruptcy proceedings and has thousands of creditors.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced an $8.3 billion settlement with Purdue last October related to federal criminal and civil liabilities. Donovan and 25 other attorneys general criticized the deal, saying it didn't bring in enough money or sufficiently hold the Sacklers accountable.
Asked whether Thursday's settlement with McKinsey was sufficient, Donovan said: "The need is great, the need is immediate, and we need dollars today."

Read the state's complaint against McKinsey here: