McKinsey advised Purdue to offer rebates for opioid overdoses
Consulting firm McKinsey & Company advised Purdue Pharma, producer of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, to give drug distributors a rebate for every OxyContin overdose attributable to pills they sold, according to bankruptcy filings obtained and reviewed by the New York Times.
Why it matters: It was one of several options McKinsey gave the Sackler family, Purdue’s owners, to drive sales of the drug, at a time when opioid abuse had already killed thousands of people in the U.S.
Details: A 2017 presentation from McKinsey projected how many customers of distributors, including CVS and Anthem, might overdose or develop a use disorder.
- The consulting company projected that in 2019 2,484 CVS customers would either overdose or develop an opioid addiction and that Purdue would pay CVS a $36.8 million rebate that year.
- Rebates and other strategies were McKinsey's attempts to help Purdue find a way “to counter the emotional messages from mothers with teenagers that overdosed” on OxyContin.
CVS and Anthem told NYT they never received such rebates.
- In 2018, McKinsey began to worry about legal backlash from taking on Purdue as a client, and senior members of the firm asked whether the company should prepare for lawsuits by “eliminating all our documents and emails.”
- "It is not known whether consultants at the firm went on to destroy any records," according to NYT.
The big picture: Purdue pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three criminal charges, including impeding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to combat the addiction crisis and and paying illegal kickbacks to doctors.