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For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 23, 2023

On Wednesday, the Office of the County Attorney for Montgomery County filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court Northern District of California against McKinsey and Company, Inc. for the company’s role in marketing opioids to the public and medical providers. The suit alleges that the McKinsey defendants served as marketing advisors to several opioid manufacturers, and in this role, helped counter the “emotional message” from the families of overdose victims and advised Purdue on how to “turbocharge” the sale of opioids. To read the full complaint, please click here.

“As Purdue and other pharmaceuticals companies made billions off the harm and death their products brought to millions of Americans, McKinsey and Company, Inc. were their enablers and a profiteer of this blood money,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “This is another example of the corporate structure being used to shield people from their immoral actions. They must be made to account for their callous greed and the filing of this lawsuit marks an important milestone in our county’s efforts to do just that. We will aggressively advocate for the many Montgomery County residents who have been harmed by this deadly and preventable epidemic. The actions and decisions of this company were immoral, inhumane, and unconscionable. They need to be held equally accountable.”

The County Council recently approved the law firm of DiCello Levitt to represent that County in this lawsuit.

“Like families across America, Montgomery County residents are affected daily by the profoundly devastating impacts of the opioid crisis, which have been deepened by the irresponsible marketing strategies of McKinsey,” Council President Evan Glass said. "I'm hopeful that these legal efforts will bring funds that can be used toward addressing this public health crisis and supporting the individuals and families who have been impacted."

For over a decade, McKinsey provided guidance, consulting, and marketing plans to entities involved in manufacturing, marketing, and selling opioids. McKinsey worked closely with its clients to assist them with strategy and implementation of their goals. McKinsey provided marketing plans to manufacturers who, in turn, targeted prescribers writing the most prescriptions, for the most patients, and all for profit.

Purdue Pharmaceuticals, for example, used the information to increase OxyContin sales through physician targeting and specific messaging to prescribers. McKinsey’s strategies formed the pillars of Purdue’s sales tactics for at least 15 years. Purdue approved McKinsey’s plan and strategies, and together with McKinsey, moved to implement the plan, which significantly increased Purdue’s opioid sales for OxyContin.

McKinsey’s method of aggressive marketing of opioids to prescribers demonstrably exacerbated the opioid crisis. In 2013, McKinsey proposed, and Purdue implemented with McKinsey’s ongoing assistance, Project Turbocharge, a marketing plan to McKinsey’s strategy for selling OxyContin. McKinsey’s actions caused and continue to cause the public health epidemic in this County and around the United States.

Montgomery County filed previous lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies starting in 2018. These previous settlements against drug makers and distributors over opioid lawsuits are expected to bring Montgomery County approximately $34 million over the next 18 years. The same suits are expected to net the state of Maryland approximately $400 million dollars over that same time.

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Release ID: 23-086
Media Contact: Joe Dominguez 240-743-8865
Categories: Executive Office