A New York consulting firm that is being sued by Bedford County on behalf of more than 2,600 Pennsylvania municipalities for its efforts to maximize Purdue Frederick Co.’s profits from the sale of the opioid OxyContin is asking the dismissal of the case by a federal district judge in San Francisco.
Bedford County joined 140 other entities, including counties, cities, townships, foundations, schools and Indian tribes in suing McKinsey & Co. Inc., which allegedly designed and implemented a sales program for Purdue, which backed the pain medication OxyContin was not as addictive as other such drugs.
McKinsey was hired after Purdue and its subsidiary, Purdue Pharma LP, were convicted in 2007 by a federal court of “false picture” OxyContin.
As federal restrictions were imposed to reduce the distribution of OxyContin, Mckinsey developed a marketing strategy known as Evole 2 Excellence, which reportedly generated billions of dollars in additional profits for Purdue.
The company only recently halted production of the drug and has been embroiled in multiple opioid lawsuits.
Bedford County, through attorney Barry Scatton – a native of the county – and several other attorneys, filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of Pennsylvania municipalities seeking funds to address the opioid crisis through treatment, law enforcement and the courts. .
Bedford’s trial last July was joined with the other trials and moved to the Northern District of California.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer on Thursday heard McKinsey’s arguments to dismiss the plethora of lawsuits because, he says, the company had already agreed to a $573 million settlement with attorneys general from 47 states, including Pennsylvania. , the District of Columbia. and five US territories.
According to McKinsey, the law prohibits additional lawsuits based on the same allegations.
“The narrow question before the court … is whether the plaintiffs (Bedford County and others) represent the same public interest and bring the same public claims that the states have settled and released,” according to a 69-page legal brief filed by McKinsey attorneys.
The plaintiffs argued that McKinsey took a “shortcut” towards the settlement of matters brought by the AGs.
McKinsey argued that this was not true and noted, “It was the most efficient and cost-effective way for McKinsey to achieve the end result and for states to secure more than half a billion dollars for communities across the country to reduce the damage caused by opioids.”
“It’s also how states have resolved multi-state disputes for decades,” McKinsey said.
“In exchange for a global resolution, McKinsey negotiated the shutdown,” he argued.
The question is whether attorneys general and municipalities represent the same public and governmental interest, according to the question posed by McKinsey.
On the other side, plaintiffs say they are seeking damages for harms that have occurred in their own communities.
McKinsey responded that the states, through their attorneys general, had already done so and that the individual harms alleged by the entities in the other 140 lawsuits had not been clearly defined.
“They are bringing the same public and governmental claims on behalf of the interest of the state that the Attorney General is authorized by law to bring and which were or could have been brought by (the) state,” McKinsey supported.
Attorney Samuel Issacharoff of New York represented the municipalities.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced 14 months ago that Pennsylvania would receive more than $25.7 million from the McKinsey settlement.
Shapiro, in announcing the settlement, said the opioid epidemic is claiming the lives of Pennsylvania residents every day and he said McKinsey & Co. “cared only about making money at the expense of the most vulnerable while all communities in Pennsylvania suffered.”
He said the McKinsey settlement was the first multi-state settlement to result in substantial payments to states to fight the outbreak.