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The Office of the County Attorney for Montgomery County filed a lawsuit this week against McKinsey & Co. Inc. over the company’s role in marketing opioids to the public and medical providers, according to a county news release.

The suit alleges that the managing consulting company’s defendants served as marketing advisers to several opioid manufacturers, and in this role, helped counter the “emotional message” from the families of overdose victims and advised Purdue Pharma on how to “turbocharge” the sale of opioids. The county is seeking an award of damages caused by the opioid epidemic but did not name a specific monetary figure in the suit.

The lawsuit is filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. McKinsey has offices in locations all over the world, including in northwest Washington, D.C. The County Council recently approved the law firm of DiCello Levitt to represent the county in the suit.

“As Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies made billions off the harm and death their products brought to millions of Americans, McKinsey and Company, Inc. were their enablers and a profiteer of this blood money,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement. “We will aggressively advocate for the many Montgomery County residents who have been harmed by this deadly and preventable epidemic. The actions and decisions of this company were immoral, inhumane, and unconscionable. They need to be held equally accountable.”

“Montgomery County residents are affected every day by the profoundly devastating impacts of the opioid crisis. That’s why we are suing McKinsey & Company,” County Council President Evan Glass tweeted Friday morning.


For over a decade, McKinsey provided guidance, consulting and marketing plans to entities involved in manufacturing, marketing and selling opioids, according to the suit. McKinsey worked closely with its clients to assist them with strategy and implementation of their goals. The county alleges that McKinsey provided marketing plans to manufacturers who, in turn, targeted prescribers writing the most prescriptions, for the most patients, and all for profit.

Montgomery County filed previous lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies starting in 2018. These previous settlements against drugmakers and distributors over opioid lawsuits are expected to bring the county approximately $34 million over the next 18 years, according to the county. The same suits are expected to net the state of Maryland approximately $400 million over that same time.

In October, McKinsey agreed to settle claims by hundreds of US local governments and school districts.


Last year, the company agreed to pay $641 million to settle claims from 49 state attorneys general McKinsey admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

A representative of McKinsey did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.