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A Look At A Lawsuit Filed By NY Municipalities Over Opioid Crisis


VESTAL, NY (WSKG) - 21 municipalities across New York are part of a lawsuit against McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm that worked for Purdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers.

The lawsuit alleged that McKinsey & Company helped market opioids, advised the companies that made them, and, in doing so, played a role in creating an opioid crisis that has led to overdoses and deaths across the state.

Chemung, Chenango, and Steuben counties have all joined the suit, which was filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court. They are being represented by the firm Napoli Shkolnik.

Steuben County manager Jack Wheeler said, from distributing Naloxone, or Narcan, to providing mental health and substance abuse treatment, the opioid crisis has had a big impact on county government.

On top of the resources required to address the issue, Wheeler said that the county has experienced a lot of loss.

“Our county has been significantly impacted by the opioid crisis,” said Wheeler. “And that’s from, you know, just the existential threats that we’ve seen, the loss of numerous residents, the amount of overdoses that we’ve had on opioids.”

He added that companies like McKinsey & Company should be held responsible for their work for opioid manufacturers, the way tobacco companies were sued in court over smoking-related health issues across the country.

“In my view, the county taxpayers shouldn’t foot a bill for a crisis that we didn’t create,” said Wheeler. “If there’s a party responsible, there is certainly funding needed that could go directly to substance use treatment, specifically related to opioids, that could prevent additional overdose deaths, that could arm more people with Narcan, that could train additional peer recovery coaches, that could just spread the word about recovery.”

In February, McKinsey & Company reached a settlement of $573 million dollars in a lawsuit spanning 47 states, five territories, and Washington D.C. About $32 million dollars was awarded to New York.

Since then, many municipalities directly affected by the opioid crisis have brought their own lawsuits against the company, and others involved in opioid manufacture and sale.

A spokesperson for McKinsey & Company said that the state settlement should resolve any lawsuits brought by local municipalities. The spokesperson added that the company would push back on claims they believe “are designed to double-dip on the state settlements.”