“When Purdue Pharma agreed last month to plead guilty to criminal charges involving OxyContin, the Justice Department noted the role an unidentified consulting company had played in driving sales of the addictive painkiller even as public outrage grew over widespread overdoses. Documents released last week in a federal bankruptcy court in New York show that the adviser was McKinsey & Company, the world’s most prestigious consulting firm. The 160 pages include emails and slides revealing new details about McKinsey’s advice to the Sackler family, Purdue’s billionaire owners, and the firm’s now notorious plan to ‘turbocharge’ OxyContin sales at a time when opioid abuse had already killed hundreds of thousands of Americans” the New York Times reports.
“In a 2017 presentation, according to the records, which were filed in court on behalf of multiple state attorneys general, McKinsey laid out several options to shore up sales. One was to give Purdue’s distributors a rebate for every OxyContin overdose attributable to pills they sold. The presentation estimated how many customers of companies including CVS and Anthem might overdose. It projected that in 2019, for example, 2,484 CVS customers would either have an overdose or develop an opioid use disorder. A rebate of $14,810 per ‘event’ meant that Purdue would pay CVS $36.8 million that year. After Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against Purdue, Martin Elling, a leader for McKinsey’s North American pharmaceutical practice, wrote to another senior partner, Arnab Ghatak: ‘It probably makes sense to have a quick conversation with the risk committee to see if we should be doing anything’ other than ‘eliminating all our documents and emails. Suspect not but as things get tougher there someone might turn to us.’ Mr. Ghatak, who also advised Purdue, replied: ‘Thanks for the heads up. Will do.’ It is not known whether consultants at the firm went on to destroy any records.”