By Nate Raymond
(Reuters) – Consulting firm McKinsey & Co has agreed to pay at least $573 million to resolve claims by 40-plus U.S. states related to its role in the opioid epidemic and advice it gave to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The settlement is with 43 states, the District of Columbia and three territories, the person said on Wednesday. Several attorneys general said they planned announcements on the opioid epidemic on Thursday.
They included Vermont’s attorney general, T.J. Donovan, whose office said it would announce its participation in the first multi-state opioid settlement “to result in substantial payment to the states to address the epidemic.”
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he had reached a separate, $13 million settlement with McKinsey that was on top of the reported multi-state agreement.
McKinsey did not respond to requests for comment.
McKinsey previously came under scrutiny for its role advising Purdue Pharma and the wealth Sackler family that owns the drugmaker.
A lawsuit by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey alleged McKinsey advised the Sacklers on how to “turbocharge” opioid sales.
Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019 as part of a proposed settlement it valued at $10 billion to resolve lawsuits alleging its painkiller marketing helped fuel the epidemic.
More than 3,200 lawsuits are pending, seeking to hold drug makers, distributors and pharmacies responsible for an opioid addiction epidemic that according to U.S. government data resulted in 450,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2018.
The lawsuits accuse drugmakers of deceptively marketing opioids and distributors of ignoring red flags indicating the prescription painkillers were being diverted for improper uses. They deny wrongdoing.
The states and local governments have been also in negotiations for settlements with drug distributors Cardinal Health Inc, McKesson Corp and Amerisourcebergen Corp and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond, Rama Venkat and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler and Raju Gopalakrishnan)