Montgomery Co. sues consulting firm McKinsey for helping ‘turbocharge’ opioid sales

Montgomery County, Maryland, has filed a lawsuit against consulting firm McKinsey and Company for what it calls the company’s part in fueling the opioid epidemic by marketing drugs to the public and medical providers.

According to the lawsuit, the company’s employees served as marketing advisers to a number of opioid companies, helped to offset the “emotional messages” from families of overdose victims and encouraged Purdue to “turbocharge” opioid sales.

The county’s lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, was announced in a news release Thursday.

County Executive Marc Elrich called the actions of McKinsey “immoral, inhumane, and unconscionable” and said the company needs to be held “accountable.”

“This is another example of the corporate structure being used to shield people from their immoral actions,” Elrich said in a statement. “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.”

He added, “We will aggressively advocate for the many Montgomery County residents who have been harmed by this deadly and preventable epidemic.”

By approval of the Montgomery County Council, the county is represented by DiCello Levitt represent them in this case.

“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 in a statement.

“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.”

The county’s lawsuit claims McKinsey’s approach of marketing opioids to prescribers made the opioid crisis worse. The company proposed and Purdue implemented “Project Turbocharge,” which the lawsuit argues was the blueprint for selling the OxyContin in 2013.

The county has previously sued pharmaceutical companies relating to the opioid epidemic, netting millions in settlements against drug companies and distributors. The county is projected to get $34 million over the next 18 years from those settlements.

WTOP has reached out to McKinsey for comment on the lawsuit.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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