McKinsey Under Criminal Investigation Over Alleged Role In Opioid Epidemic: Report
The McKinsey and Company logo is being displayed at their pavilion during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on February 28, 2024. McKinsey and Company, an American multinational strategy and management consulting firm, is providing professional services to corporations, governments, and other organizations and is the oldest and largest of the Big Three management consultancies.
Joan Cros / NurPhoto via Getty Images

McKinsey & Company is under federal criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for their alleged past work advising some of the largest opioid manufacturers on how to maximize sales.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story Wednesday evening on the investigation in which prosecutors are also seeking to determine if the company or its employees obstructed justice throughout the course of the multi-year investigation.

Investigators are specifically looking at consulting advice the firm gave to Purdue, Endo International, and Mallinckrodt that government and private plaintiffs have alleged exacerbated the opioid addiction epidemic, the report said. The three companies have filed for bankruptcy in response to lawsuits alleging they marketed the drug in a deceptive way that caused addiction.

The investigation is being run through two U.S. attorney’s offices, the Western District of Virginia and the District of Massachusetts, the report said. A federal grand jury has been impaneled in Virginia.

The company has already paid approximately $1 billion in settlements with all 50 U.S. states, five U.S. territories, Washington, D.C., Native American tribes, public school districts, insurance companies and municipal governments, the report said. They have never admitted any wrongdoing.

McKinsey consultants allegedly told Purdue that it could “turbocharge” its sales of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin by making more sales calls to healthcare providers that it knew wrote significantly larger volumes of prescriptions of the drug and spend less time speaking with providers who seldom prescribed it.

The New York Times reported that senior McKinsey consultants were growing nervous in 2018 that they would be liable for their work helping opioid manufacturers boost their sales.


The report said that during the summer of 2018, Martin Elling, a leader in the firm’s pharmaceutical practice, allegedly emailed senior McKinsey partner Arnab Ghatak and asked whether they should destroy documents and records related to their opioid work.

“Thanks for the heads up,” Ghatak responded. “Will do.”

The Times said both men were fired after the newspaper reported on the existence of the emails in 2020.

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