In all honesty, there is no primary culprit behind the opioid addiction crisis that has plagued millions of Americans. But there are several powerful organizations who have been accused of playing a part and are now getting taken to court. The pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma happens to be one of them and they recently agreed to a major lawsuit payout for their alleged role. Another one is the famed consulting org McKinsey & Company, who are also now settling for a very hefty sum.
According to headlines published this week, McKinsey has reached a whopping $573 million settlement with nearly 50 state governments over its role in furthering the crisis. The accusations stem from their association with Purdue and their supposed part in helping to market and boost sales of high-risk prescription drugs like OxyContin.
For civil lawyers across the country, this was hailed as a major victory. For one thing, it illustrates that the blame goes far beyond pill manufacturers. And, as Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey explained in a statement to NPR, it will get hundreds of millions of dollars allocated toward national treatment and rehabilitation programs.
“Today’s agreement sets a new standard for accountability in one of the most devastating crises of our time,” Healey told the site. “As a result, our communities will receive substantial resources for treatment, prevention, and recovery services.”
At the end of the day, though, part of the settlement includes McKinsey admitting no official wrongdoing for their role. Nevertheless, the firm released a statement of their own, which included apologetic words.
“We chose to resolve this matter in order to provide fast, meaningful support to communities across the United States,” McKinsey global managing partner, Kevin Sneader, wrote. “We deeply regret that we did not adequately acknowledge the tragic consequences of the epidemic unfolding in our communities. With this agreement, we hope to be part of the solution to the opioid crisis in the U.S.”
And the legal actions definitely don’t stop there. Civil lawsuits are still in place against companies like Johnson & Johnson, McKesson and Walmart over their alleged roles in fueling the epidemic. It remains to be seen how those cases will play out, but we do admire McKinsey for taking swift action and putting funds toward recovery programs.
And though large settlements can help and do make a strong statement, they can’t bring back the hundreds of lives lost to this devastating crisis.