UNITED STATES: Leading consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has agreed to pay claims made by hundreds of local governments and school districts in the United States claiming it sparked an opioid addiction pandemic by working for drug manufacturers such as bankrupt OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma LP.
The agreement was revealed in a court document filed in San Francisco federal court on Wednesday night. The settlement’s details were kept confidential.
In the past, McKinsey agreed to pay more than $600 million to resolve opioid-related litigation brought by all states and territories in the United States. The company maintained that these agreements should protect it from claims brought by local governments and school districts. It hasn’t acknowledged any wrongdoing.
Health insurance companies, Native American tribes, and families of children exposed to opioids in the womb are still pursuing claims against the company. These claims may result in withdrawal symptoms at birth as well as long-term health and developmental issues.
For pretrial procedures, cases that have been brought in several states are combined before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco.
On Thursday, Breyer rejected McKinsey’s request to have the claims dismissed because the courts in areas where the New York-based company had no direct business operations lacked jurisdiction.
McKinsey “purposefully directed its actions” at those states in its opioid consulting business, Breyer determined that they did have jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs claim that the firm has employed aggressive strategies to increase opioid sales, including the targeting of physicians who are known to be frequent prescribers.
According to federal official figures, the U.S. opioid problem has resulted in more than 500,000 overdose deaths over the course of 20 years.
Despite the defendants’ denial of culpability, litigation against medication manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies have so far resulted in settlements totaling more than $30 billion.