Consulting Firm McKinsey & Company Suggested Purdue Pharma Pay Rebates for Overdoses

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, recently agreed to plead guilty to felony charges for illegally incentivizing doctors to prescribe more opioid-based pain relievers to patients, even though the company was aware how highly addictive these medicines are.

It recently came to light in an New York Times article that the consulting firm McKinsey & Company advised members of the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, on several ways to increase sales of OxyContin. One way included considering giving the company’s distributors a rebate for every overdose attributed to the pills they sold.

McKinsey estimated how many customers of the pharmacy chains, Anthem and CVS, might overdose.  It projected that in 2019, 2,484 CVS customers would either have an overdose or develop an opioid use disorder. A rebate of $14,810 per “event” meant that Purdue would pay CVS $36.8 million that year.

McKinsey has not yet been charged by the federal government, and Anthem and CVS have said they never received rebates from Purdue for customers who overdosed on OxyContin. These unimaginable recommendations from McKinsey are disturbing and reprehensible.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) has spearheaded and advocated for safer prescribing practices through the Patient Opioid Notification Law, a New Jersey law passed in 2017 that requires medical practitioners to discuss the addictive quality of opioids and safer non-opioid pain relief alternatives. Seventeen states have followed suit, requiring this potentially life-saving conversation between doctor and patient.

As overdoses and overdose-related deaths have been on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that we are vigilant and make people aware about the dangers of opioids.

Please continue to stay safe and well.

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