States Pressure Drugmakers After McKinsey’s $600 Million Opioid Settlement



State attorneys general intensified pressure on drug companies to settle claims over the opioid crisis, following consulting firm McKinsey & Co.’s agreement to pay nearly $600 million over its advice to pharmaceutical companies to rev up sales.

McKinsey’s settlements, reached with every state but Nevada, are an unexpected first source of revenue to stem from yearslong investigations into drug-industry players that states say helped exacerbate an opioid epidemic. It has killed at least 400,000 people in the U.S. since 1999.

“We do not want to be in litigation for years on this, spending money and resources while people are dying,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said Thursday. “We want to get fair settlements now. Others need to follow suit.”

States have been negotiating since 2019 with the nation’s three largest drug distributors, McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., as well as drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. The companies have publicly disclosed that they have set aside a collective $26 billion for the deal, most of it to be paid over 18 years, but no final agreement has been reached.

Authors: Sara Randazzo and Jonathan Randles

Publication Date: 4 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal