Minnesota tribe sues NY consulting firm for ‘deepening opioid crisis’

CASS LAKE, Minn. (KVRR) – A Native American tribe from Minnesota is suing a New York consulting firm in connection with the opioid epidemic.

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe says in a federal lawsuit that New York-based McKinsey & Company “played an integral role in creating and deepening the opioid crisis.”

In a 59-page complaint, the tribe alleges that McKinsey & Company sought to maximize OxyContin sales by working around the requirements of an agreement that Purdue Pharma entered as part of its guilty plea in 2007.

Purdue pleaded guilty to misleading the public about the drug’s risk of addiction. The company’s president, top lawyer and former chief medical officer paid $634.5 million in fines.

“Defendant provided sales and marketing strategies designed to sell as much OxyContin as possible, at one point in 2010 telling Purdue that the new strategies Defendant had developed could generate as much as $400,000,000 in additional annual sales.”

According to the complaint, McKinsey “specifically targeted prescribers in Minnesota, targeting over 2,000 prescribers there and analyzing prescribing data from hundreds prescriber data with the goal of increasing sales in the state.

The lawsuit says in 2014, Native Americans had the highest death rate from opioid overdoses out of any ethnic group in the country.

“The Plaintiff has suffered special injury different in kind from the general public because American Indian populations are more vulnerable to opioid abuse and the damage caused by the nuisance has inflicted harm on the very fabric of the Plaintiff’s culture and threatened its continued existence as a sovereign nation.”

The tribe is seeking a jury trial and an unspecified amount of damages.

McKinsey & Company wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News