Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio called on federal government agencies to cut ties with the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company after reports surfaced that the firm was allowing employees to render services for major pharmaceutical companies, while consulting for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the same time.
“McKinsey & Company’s entire business model is to profit from undisclosed conflicts of interest,” Rubio said in a press release Wednesday. “We know the company has been doing this with opioid producers and federal regulators, which underscores the massive danger posed by McKinsey’s work for both the Chinese Communist Party and vast segments of America’s national security infrastructure. The Chinese Communist Party poses an existential threat to our nation, and McKinsey cannot be trusted. Every federal agency should immediately cut ties with the company.”
Rubio then cited a letter to McKinsey’s Global Managing Partner Bob Sternfels in which Rubio said that McKinsey & Company lied to him and his staff on multiple occasions about the firm’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party and the government of China. He also cited letters from 2020 asking for information about whether McKinsey’s work with the United States government ever informed the work they did with China. According to Rubio, McKinsey “failed to address fundamental questions on whether McKinsey’s work on behalf of the United States Government informs its work on behalf of any client in China.”
McKinsey’s refusal to answer those questions takes on new importance given reports that “a McKinsey consultant highlighted the firm’s work for the F.D.A. and stressed ‘who we know and what we know.’”
“Previous reports make clear that McKinsey’s ‘work with both the Pentagon and powerful Chinese state-owned enterprises poses a potential risk to national security that federal agencies can no longer ignore,’” the press release stated.
Rubio’s call for agencies to disentangle from McKinsey came after the House Oversight & Reform Committee released a report that found that the firm had engaged in work for opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma and the FDA at the same time. “The Committee’s investigation has uncovered evidence that McKinsey consultants advised FDA on opioid-related regulatory matters at the same time they were advising Purdue and other opioid manufacturers on sales and regulatory strategies involving FDA,” the report said. According to the Oversight Committee, citing documents it obtained, “at least 22 McKinsey consultants worked for both FDA and opioid manufacturers, including several of McKinsey’s senior-most partners in the health care and regulatory practices who worked for FDA and opioid manufacturers at the same time.” The committee also obtained evidence that the firm shared information it received through its work with the FDA with individual consultants, and potentially clients in the private sector, including Purdue Pharma.
The committee’s report also found that the firm “utilized their government contacts and experience to showcase the firm’s value to opioid manufacturers and solicit private sector business,” including from Purdue. It also found that the firm failed to disclose conflicts of interests to the FDA. The committee also obtained documents which “[suggested] that McKinsey may have sought to use its influence with government clients to advocate for policy positions or selectively share information with government officials that benefited its private sector clients.”