Acceptable Drug Dealers

They attended the best schools and wear very nice suits (boldface mine):

…in recent months, as government officials seek to assign blame for the opioid crisis that has strangled large parts of the nation, McKinsey’s advice is surfacing in ways that are deeply embarrassing for the influential firm, whose clients include many of the world’s most admired companies. One lawsuit stated that McKinsey advised a pharmaceutical company to “get more patients on higher doses of opioids” and study techniques “for keeping patients on opioids longer.”

And in a civil trial that wrapped up last week, Oklahoma joined two other states — Massachusetts and New Jersey — in showing that McKinsey offered advice to a drug company on how to increase opioid sales at a time when abuse of its pain medicine was widespread.

Although McKinsey is not a defendant, Oklahoma used McKinsey consulting records to help build its case against Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, for what the state said was irresponsible marketing of a fentanyl patch called Duragesic…

Earlier this month, the State of Massachusetts released new documents from 2013 that detailed McKinsey’s recommendations on how Purdue Pharma could “turbocharge” sales of its widely abused opioid OxyContin. The state said McKinsey advised Purdue to sharply increase sales visits to targeted doctors and to consider mail orders as a way to bypass pharmacies that had been tightening oversight of opioid prescriptions.

In a statement released to The New York Times on Wednesday, McKinsey said it had gotten out of the business of giving advice related to opioids. The company declined to say how much it was paid working for opioid manufacturers….

During the trial, Mr. Beckworth introduced a PowerPoint presentation, prepared by McKinsey for Johnson & Johnson in 2002, that raised the issue of whether the company had been sufficiently aggressive in courting patients for its fentanyl patch. In one slide, McKinsey asked, “Are we properly targeting and influencing prescription behavior in pain clinics?”

McKinsey recommended “targeting and influencing” doctors who specifically treat back pain in the elderly and those in long-term care. The consultants also advised the company to move physicians who were “stuck” in prescribing less potent opioids into prescribing stronger formulations

In court testimony, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate representative, Kimberly Deem-Eshleman, tried to distance her company from McKinsey’s advice. Twice she told the judge that these were “McKinsey’s words,” not Johnson & Johnson’s.

Mr. Beckworth, the state lawyer, asked Ms. Deem-Eshleman if her company fired McKinsey because of its recommendations. She replied no.

“Still use them today?” he asked.

Yes, for different projects,” she replied.

That will work out fine, I’m sure. Lousy way to make a living, to say the least, even if it’s supposedly respectable.

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