Tallahassee & Leon County Among Local Governments Filing Lawsuit Over Opioids

Tallahassee & Leon County Among Local Governments Filing Lawsuit Over Opioids

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Local governments in Northwest Florida and Miami-Dade County have filed lawsuits seeking damages from the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company over its past work in helping market opioids.

Eight Northwest Florida counties and four cities, stretching from Tallahassee to Pensacola, filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Panama City. That came after Miami-Dade County and the cities of Miami Gardens and North Miami filed a similar lawsuit Friday in federal court in Miami.

The lawsuits focus on McKinsey’s work for Purdue Pharma in the marketing of OxyContin, which has been widely blamed for the nation’s opioid epidemic. The lawsuits allege that McKinsey “played an integral role in creating and deepening the opioid crisis.”

Much of the firm’s work came after Purdue Pharma entered a “corporate integrity agreement” in 2007 with the federal government in a criminal case about misbranding OxyContin, according to the lawsuits.

“McKinsey knew of the dangers of opioids and of Purdue’s prior misconduct, but nonetheless advised Purdue to improperly market and sell OxyContin, supplying granular sales and marketing strategies and remaining intimately involved throughout implementation of those strategies,” the lawsuits said. “McKinsey’s actions resulted in a surge in sales of OxyContin and other opioids that fueled and prolonged the opioid crisis.”

The plaintiffs in the Northwest Florida case are Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon and Santa Rosa counties and the cities of Niceville, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahassee. Plaintiffs in both cases are represented by many of the same lawyers.

McKinsey has faced lawsuits in other parts of the country over its work for opioid manufacturers and reached a settlement in 2021 with 49 state attorneys general, including Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. It agreed to pay about $600 million in the settlement, while saying in a news release at the time that it “believes its past work was lawful and has denied allegations to the contrary.”

The company stopped opioid-related work in 2019. In testimony in April 2022 to a U.S. House committee, Bob Sternfels, global managing partner for McKinsey, said the firm’s “work for Purdue was focused on legitimate prescribers and an abuse deterrent formulation.”

“Nevertheless, we have recognized and publicly expressed that we did not adequately acknowledge the unfolding epidemic, and that our work fell short of our standards,” Sternfels said in a statement to the committee. “As a result, in 2019, we decided to end all work on opioid-specific business globally, and we have committed to being part of the solution to this serious challenge. As part of that commitment, in early 2021, we proactively engaged with state attorneys general across the country to reach a settlement that provides more than $600 million to prevention, treatment and recovery efforts across the country. Rather than litigating with the states, we worked with the attorneys general to provide critical support to hard-hit communities nationwide.”

The new Florida lawsuits make a series of allegations, including racketeering, unjust enrichment and creating a public nuisance. They seek damages related to such things as the costs of providing medical care to people addicted to opioids, costs of providing care for children whose parents are addicted and costs of social services and criminal justice.

“McKinsey’s unlawful conduct, including its misrepresentations and omissions regarding opioids, generally, and Purdue’s opioids, specifically, have fueled an opioid epidemic within plaintiffs’ communities that constitutes a public nuisance,” the lawsuits said. “McKinsey and Purdue knowingly exacerbated a condition that affects entire municipalities, counties, towns and communities.”

3 Responses to "Tallahassee & Leon County Among Local Governments Filing Lawsuit Over Opioids"

  1. And do not let Rubio and Scott’s no vote fool you. They could have sounded the alarm last Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, July, Aug, Sept, Oct and Nov that the budget needed addressing. I voted for Rubio because Demmings was worse. I voted for Scott because Bill Nelson was worse. I voted for Dunn because Lawson sucked. The three I voted for did not earn my vote based on merit….they just didn’t suck as bad as the other guy. Every government shut down resulted in a bunch of over-payed federal employees getting more paid time off. Never has a government employee lost money because of a shut down. Rubio, Scott and Dunn know it but don’t say it because it gives them cover not to do their jobs. The Washington Generals are the only team the Harlem Globetrotters ever play. The Generals have a few good plays but ALWAYS loose. The Republican Party is the Washington Generals. The Republican Party leadership loves to loose. The Republican Party has no intention of every winning.

  2. @ Pat A… agreed. The latest stunt by the Marxicrats, with help from Mitch and the rest of the Feckless Fourteen Senate Republicans, will solidify the continued invasion of our country by those who mean to take down this once great Republic of ours. Bullets and bombs are not the only way to destroy a nation. It’s up to American Citizens to save our country. Our founders said we’d be here at this point in time, and called it damn near to the year no less.

    With the money Mitch and his wife have poached from we taxpayers, along with the money they’ve received from China, their kids and grandkids will enjoy a wonderful Christmas while American families, veterans, and children sleep on the streets. No more is the two Party system that’s governed our nation into the ground… what we have now is a brazen and treasonous Uni-Party of Crime and Corruption hellbent on finish the job.

    Good night and good luck… Merry Christmas to all, and may God Bless and Keep us all.

  3. And what will Leon County do with the money should they prevail? I’ll bet you a dollar the give the money away to the sick, lame and lazy groups that keep them in office. Fentanyl is flowing into our Country because Joe Biden and the Democrats see political gain in allowing our southern border to be open. Leon County isn’t suing over that. Biden and the Democrats know their open border policies are resulting in illegal drugs flowing into our Country and they don’t care. Your family’s safety takes a back seat to Democrat political gains. Democrats are destroying this Country and Republicans do not want to lead nor can they get their act together. Good luck America. You’re gonna need it.

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