State Attorney General Ashley Moody announced last week that she helped secure millions of dollars for Florida through efforts to hold accountable corporations responsible for helping fuel the deadly opioid epidemic.
On Thursday, Moody announced the results of a multimillion-dollar action against a marketing company that helped turbocharge the opioid epidemic through a marketing collaboration with Purdue Pharma.
Florida joins a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories in the $573 million action with one of the world’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Company. The multistate action resolves investigations into the company’s role in working for opioid companies to help promote products that fueled the opioid epidemic. As a result, Florida will receive more than $40 million—a majority of which will be made available for allocation by Florida lawmakers during this critical time.
“I’m pleased this money will be available to help Floridians very soon, and I will work alongside our great legislative leaders to ensure funds are allocated to areas hit hard by the opioid crisis. While securing these funds is a great win for Florida, our work is far from over, and I remain committed to fighting tooth and nail, both inside and outside the courtroom, to stop the death and destruction inflicted on Florida families by opioid abuse,” Moody said.
“Thank you Attorney General Moody for holding companies accountable for their role in perpetuating the opioid crisis. This epidemic has impacted families across Florida and this settlement is another step toward righting these wrongs,” said Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor.
“Today’s announcement is the product of years of hard work, and I am very grateful to General Moody for her leadership in bringing this tremendous settlement across the finish line. Opioid abuse has plagued our communities for far too long, tearing apart families and taking so many lives way too soon, while the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people struggling with this addiction feeling isolated and alone. As a state, we are doing all we can to address this terrible problem, and Floridians can take great pride in the fact that our Attorney General is a national leader in this effort. This settlement is welcome news, but I also know it is really just the beginning of General Moody’s tremendous efforts to hold these companies accountable,” said Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.
The money will be used to abate problems caused by opioid abuse in Florida. In addition to providing funds to address the crisis, the multistate action calls for McKinsey to prepare tens of thousands of internal documents detailing work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies for public disclosure online.
McKinsey also promises to adopt a strict document retention plan, continue an investigation into allegations that two of its partners tried to destroy documents in response to investigations of Purdue Pharma, implement a strict ethics code that all partners must agree to annually and stop advising companies on potentially dangerous Schedule II and III narcotics.
The filings describe how McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by promoting marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, for more than a decade. The complaint, filed with the settlement, details how McKinsey advised Purdue on how to maximize profits from its opioid products, including targeting high-volume opioid prescribers, using specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients and circumventing pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions.
When states began to sue Purdue’s directors for their implementation of McKinsey’s marketing schemes, McKinsey partners began emailing about deleting documents and emails related to working for Purdue.
Joining Florida in the investigation and court action are attorneys general from: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.