Too little too late –
December 9, 2020 – In one internal email sent in July 2018, a McKinsey executive appears to acknowledge the growing legal risk faced by Purdue Pharma over its opioid business.
“It probably makes sense to have a quick conversation with the risk committee to see if we should be doing anything other that [sic] eliminating all our documents and emails,” McKinsey senior partner Martin Elling wrote in an email sent to another executive at the company. “As things get tougher here someone might turn to us.”
The documents, released as part of a tsunami of civil lawsuits hitting Purdue Pharma, have sparked growing criticism of McKinsey, which also has large contracts with the federal government. “McKinsey’s abhorrent conduct also demands that Congress consider broader action,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., in a letter to the company last week. “No firm that proposes paying kickbacks for overdose deaths should receive a single cent from U.S. taxpayers.”
Hawley also wrote that the 2018 email exchange about “eliminating” documents “raises the prospect that McKinsey may also have engaged in obstruction of justice.”
In a statement posted Sunday on its website, McKinsey said its work with Purdue Pharma was “designed to support the legal prescription and use of opioids for patients with legitimate medical needs.”
But the firm added that its decision-making “fell short” of the company’s ethical standards and failed to “take into account the broader context and implication” of its work to boost Purdue’s opioid sales.