Bedford County — Oxy abuse costs focus of class action suit | News, Sports, Jobs

A class action lawsuit over the commercialization of OxyContin has been transferred from Bedford County to the US District Court in Johnstown.

Bedford County is suing for redress on behalf of 67 Pennsylvania counties and more than 2,000 parishes for the thousands of drug overdoses and deaths caused by the oversupply of OxyContin.

The move came late last week when McKinsey & Co. of New York, through its attorney, John J. Berry of Pittsburgh, moved the case to be removed from Bedford County Court because of the lawsuits and the fact that McKinsey is a New-based consulting firm York city.

The deportation notice also suggests that the case will eventually be moved to trial, possibly in the Northern District of California.

McKinsey’s attorney said he would have no comment on the litigation other than what is reflected in the public records.

Bedford County, through its commissioners, filed the case in late April, and a copy of the lawsuit was served on McKinsey on May 18.

McKinsey had 30 days to apply for deportation from the county, a step required June 10, according to court records.

The civil lawsuit seeks damages based on many different points, all of which stem from McKinsey’s hiring of Purdue Frederick Co., the parent company of Purdue Pharma LP, which sells the pain reliever OxyContin.

The hiring came after Purdue in 2007 because of “Misbranding of OxyContin”, claims that it is less addicting and less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than other similar drugs.

According to the lawsuit, the use of the popular prescription drug led to “Points” of deaths.

As a result of the 2007 case, Purdue should be monitored for five years and the company should submit annual compliance reports on its marketing and sales practices.

That prompted Purdue to hire McKinsey, who was named in the lawsuit “Global Management Consulting”

McKinsey is alleged to have developed a strategy to turn the sale of opioids around “Hundreds of millions of dollars a year.” His marketing strategy was with the label “Turbocharger project.”

This national sales campaign eventually came to be known as Evole 2 Excellence, or E2E.

So while OxyContin sales declined after the 2007 lawsuit, McKinsey’s strategy brought the drug back to the fore with an upturn, the lawsuit said.

In 2018, Purdue decided to stop marketing opioids and disbanded its OxyContin sales team.

The petition filed in federal court concluded that McKinsey’s marketing plan tripled OxyContin’s sales.

The lawsuit indicated that this was the result of the campaign “One final spasm in OxyContin sales before the inevitable decline in the drug.”

Pennsylvania has suffered

The “Cramp,” As revealed in the lawsuit, had a dramatic impact on opioid abuse in Pennsylvania:

– In 2009, when the McKinsey campaign was first launched, the opioid overdose death rate was 5.2 per 100,000 population. In the years that followed, the number of deaths from opioid abuse tripled.

– By 2014, the number of overdose deaths rose to 21.9 per 100,000. According to the lawsuit, this is well above the national average. That year, 2,732 Pennsylvanins died from opioid overdoses.

The opioid death rate rose to 37.9 deaths per 100,000 when Project Turbocharge and E2E prevailed in 2015 and 2016. In 2016, Pennsylvania had the fourth highest death rate among any state.

– OxyContin abuse eventually led to heroin abuse and other problems – with many newborns testing positive for prescription drugs.

The lawsuit alleges that McKinseys “Fraudulent Marketing Strategies” have caused Bedford County and other class members, its residents, businesses and communities to bear enormous social and economic costs, including improved health care, criminal justice and lost labor productivity, among others.

It civilly charges McKinsey of negligence, gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation, public harassment, fraud and deception, civil conspiracy (McKinsey and Purdue allegedly violated Pennsylvania’s unfair commercial practices and consumer protection law), and unjust enrichment.

In the lawsuit, McKinsey reimburses medical costs, costs of caring for children of parents with addictions, increased law enforcement costs, and costs related to drug courts.

The lawsuit seeks damages for one “Avoidance Fund” for other expenses related to the opioid abuse crisis. It also demands punitive damages.

McKinsey strategy

Two of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, Barry J. Scatton of the Philadelphia-based Morgan and Morgan Complex Litigation Group and Matthew Browne of the Dallas-based Browne Pelican PLLC, are experienced in opioid litigation across the country .

They sought damages from opioid manufacturers and distributors, but only recently discovered the ramifications of McKinsey’s role as a “Consultant” had the opioid problem.

Scatton, a Bedford County native and a graduate of Bedford Area High School, met Bedford County officials when they joined another opioid lawsuit that is pending.

Bedford agents agreed to file this class action lawsuit on behalf of 67 counties in Pennsylvania and its 2,561 parishes.

The federal court must still have the district and community group as “Class.”

The lawsuit was signed by the Chairman of the Bedford Board of Commissioners, Barry J. Dallara.

The lawsuit said Purdue hired McKinsey “To develop a sales and marketing strategy to increase sales of opioids” Despite the agreement Purdue had made with the federal government to reduce opioid sales.

“In short, Purdue would pay McKinsey money in exchange for telling the company how to sell as much OxyContin as possible.” it says in the lawsuit.

From 2009 to 2014, Purdue relied on McKinsey to oversee its sales and marketing strategy. The company was more than a consultant, but rather “ajar” in all aspects of Purdue’s business, according to the lawsuit. It estimates that Purdue could generate up to $ 400 million in additional revenue annually by following the McKinsey strategy.

McKinsey advised Purdue to address the problem “Emotional messages from mothers with teenagers who overdosed on OxyContin.” They did this by marketing OxyContin as a drug that “Freedom” and “Peace of Mind,” thereby reducing stress and isolation.

McKinsey in the company’s field service focused on doctors who tended to prescribe OxyContin® “To target prescribing doctors with a marketing lightning bolt in order to promote even more prescriptions.”

The consultant suggested that Purdue step up its prescription strength per pill. Purdue implemented McKinsey’s suggestion by adopting a marketing slogan “Customize the dose.”

After McKinsey’s advice, OxyContin sales eventually rose from $ 1 billion to $ 3 billion annually, according to the lawsuit.

Damages sought to help communities

Scatton and Browne said their lawsuit did not ask for a specific amount of damage.

Browne said it’s too difficult to gauge the harm as opioid abuse costs a lot across the country.

The lawsuit seeks money to help counties like Bedford with drug treatment, better social services, provision of treatment facilities and better law enforcement, Browne said.

Another uncertainty currently is where the case is being heard.

Scatton noted that several cases are currently being filed against McKinsey and that federal courts are usually trying to consolidate the cases for litigation purposes. Many opioid cases have been consolidated for a trial in Cleveland, but he noted that the McKinsey cases are currently being relocated to San Francisco in the Northern District of California.

Many opioid cases were on trial last year, but the pandemic “Has given a big blow in the pit of the stomach” on the opioid litigation, Scatton said.

However, he made it clear that he is ready to go anywhere in the country to try the McKinsey case.

Attempts to obtain comments from Dallara, the Bedford County commissioner, or Pennsylvania’s attorney general have been unsuccessful.

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