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April 27, 2022

Pressley Slams McKinsey & Company for Exacerbating Opioid Epidemic

Video (YouTube)

WASHINGTON – Today, in a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) slammed McKinsey & Company for their role in furthering the opioid epidemic that devastated communities in Massachusetts and across the country and called for increased transparency and accountability.

In her line of questioning, Rep. Pressley criticized McKinsey’s immoral consulting practices supporting the spread of opioids by pharmaceutical companies. Prior to her questioning witnesses, Rep. Pressley introduced Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who testified before the committee about her work to hold McKinsey and opioid companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic.

A full transcript of her exchange with the witnesses is available below and the full video is available here.  For video of her introduction of Attorney General Healey, click here.

Transcript: Pressley Slams McKinsey & Company for Exacerbating Opioid Epidemic

House Committee on Oversight and Reform

April 27, 2022

REP. PRESSLEY: Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to the committee staff, who drafted the report detailing the deceptive, callous, and immoral role that McKinsey has played in furthering the opioid epidemic.

As Attorney General Healy mentioned, families in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis. The overdose death rate in my state is nearly twice as high as the national average and those stolen lives are disproportionately people of color.

And in the Massachusetts seventh district that I represent, I hear from community health centers and addiction recovery organizations. That are doing all they can to facilitate healing after the pain caused by McKinsey and opioid manufacturers.

So, Mr. Sternfels, your apologies feel empty and insincere and sort of PR responses because McKinsey was profiting off of the hurt and harm for years with zero remorse.

In 2013, McKinsey presented Purdue Pharma, run by the Sackler family, with a strategy to “turbocharge” sales of OxyContin.

Ms. Feiner, as Senior Counsel in the lawsuit led by Massachusetts, was this the first time that McKinsey deployed the turbo charge strategy?

GILLIAN FEINER: Thank you for your question. No, well, McKinsey had been doing similar work for Purdue for a very long time, so it started early. And it also used the same destructive playbook with another client, Johnson & Johnson, for its Nucynta opioids so this was not the first time that McKenzie pulled out this playbook for one of its opioids clients.

REP. PRESSLEY: Thank you and in fact documents obtained by the committee show that in 2011 McKinsey consultants launched a project as you just referenced to turbocharge Johnson & Johnson’s flagship opioid Nucynta.

McKinsey helped to identify physicians that would write high numbers of opioid prescriptions. In one Johnson & Johnson presentation, McKinsey stated it had ‘key McKinsey experts who have implemented similar efforts’ on a couple of other arm of companies.

Mr. Sternfels, what other companies had McKinsey worked with on the sales strategies outside of Johnson and Johnson?

BOB STERNFELS: Congresswoman, first I would apologize if you think that our stance is insincere. We take this stuff deadly seriously, and it’s why we’re here today. And it’s why there’s nothing more important than being transparent and accountable with all of you.

If a full list of the work that we do in terms of pricing work, revenue work, what have you with opioid manufacturers is of interest I’ll get you that and come back to it. I don’t have I don’t have the full list with me.

REP. PRESSLEY: Okay, I’ll reclaim my time and look forward to that information if you can’t provide here in the committee hearing today, again on what other companies McKinsey worked with on the sales strategies of turbocharge outside of Johnson & Johnson. So that’s the information that I’ll be looking for.

But again, we know McKinsey had strategies to spread opioids like ‘wildfire’ and that these were strategies that they have perfected elsewhere. Based on the documents the committee has McKinsey pushed a turbocharged upgrade strategy at Purdue and at Johnson & Johnson. However, we need more documents to see what other pharmaceutical companies you work with. So I thank in advance for your transparency on that.

Mr. Sternfels will you finally commit to providing the committee just one more time yes or no with all the information that we’ve requested?

BOB STERNFELS: As I’ve said many times today, I’m fully committed to continuing to work with the committee. We know that we’re not done in answering your questions. And we want to pursue that, quite frankly, until you feel that you have the answers that you need. Congresswoman.

REP. PRESSLEY: Thank you. Like the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma, McKinsey & Company, you have been complicit in creating this country’s opioid crisis and profiting off the pain of millions of families.

You’ve raked in billions of dollars every year, offering an apology while avoiding responsibility is really worthless. What you’ve done is unconscionable. It’s unacceptable. Families were robbed of loved ones by your so-called “consulting expertise” and McKinsey & Company must be held accountable and I yield back.