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The New York Times takes a step back from the lawsuits and criminal charges against opioid manufacturers to note that McKinsey, the consulting firm, also keeps coming up in those proceedings.

The big picture: Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson both hired McKinsey to boost opioid sales. McKinsey hasn't been charged or sued for any role in the crisis, but details about the company's involvement have nevertheless crept out through testimony and court filings.

Why it matters: One constant, in every lawsuit and criminal case, is that drugmakers were laser-focused on sales above all else — sometimes illegally, but sometimes just by treating the drugs like any other corporate sales project.

  • Former Insys executives were recently convicted of bribing doctors to prescribe its painkiller, Subsys. But the trial also revealed a host of other, more mundane tactics designed to boost Subsys sales.
  • Emails show a similar mindset at Purdue. When told that OxyContin addiction would get worse if the drug wasn't regulated as a controlled substance, former CEO Richard Sackler asked, "How substantially would it improve your sales?”
  • And you hire McKinsey because of its expertise in maximizing profit, not because it knows how best to treat patients.

That sales-first mentality did not start or stop with opioids.

  • Johnson & Johnson testified that it's still working with McKinsey on its other drugs, the Times notes.
  • Pharmaceutical companies spend roughly $26 billion per year on marketing.

Go deeper: There are more opioid overdoses in the suburbs than ever

Editors' note: This story has been updated to reflect corrections in the New York Times story it references.

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.