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NYS to Receive Share of $573 Million from Opioid Crisis Settlement

John Smith / WAER News

A $573 million settlement in the fight against the opioid epidemic was recently announced with nearly every state including New York.  A global consulting firm, McKinsey and Company, worked for large pharma and agreed to the settlement, sparing a long court proceeding. 

State Attorney General Letitia James says 500,000 people have died of opioid overdoses in the US. 

“Every single day, this nation suffers more than 130 overdose deaths.  In New York, that number is nine. According to federal data, there have been over 81,000 drug overdose deaths from May 2019 to May 2020.”

She adds the victims who overdosed were family members, mothers and fathers before they became entrapped in drug abuse… and many were also youth.  In nearby Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey says McKinsey and Company developed a “turbo-charging the sales-engine” strategy.

“By drastically increasing sales calls on high-volume prescribers. By encouraging opioid makers to band together to avoid FDA restrictions on oxy’ sales that could cause a loss of revenue. By scheduling ride alongs with McKinsey consultants -including right here in Massachusetts- to diagnose how they promoted Oxycontin.”

There was conflicting work found in the investigations as State Attorney General of Colorado Phil Weiser explains.

“Part of what happened during this situation was McKinsey -was not only advising Purdue and other companies how to push out more opioids- they were at the same time advising governments around the opioid epidemic. Having serious conflict of interest protections so that governments aren’t, in effect, getting conflicted guidance is a critical benefit of this settlement.”

It’s still being decided as to how the money from the settlement will be distributed here in New York.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.