I have a bias
This is a difficult article for me to write without expressing a strong personal bias; either in words or energies. I am struggling for two reasons.
The first is because I have first hand experience with the death, devastation and the hell caused when ones close to you find themselves in the jaws of the most brutal addictions one can imagine: Opiates.
The second is that as someone who is devoted to bringing a higher level of consciousness to both leadership and business, I find predatory capitalism and those who engage in it to be beyond reprehensible.
So, I will do my best to write clearly. And we will see where this goes…
McKinsey’s crime against humanity
When I first read of McKinsey and Company’s role in furthering the opioid epidemic that is killing tens of thousand of young people every year and devastating the lives of hundreds of thousands of their family members, I was stunned numb for a moment and then I became increasingly angry.
McKinsey, who promotes themselves as being an international leader in defining the next evolution of leadership and business, has been revealed to be yet another example of a carnivorous capitalistic entity willing to chase profits at any price. Regardless of the cost to humans, the planet and the universal collective.
If you read any of the links at the end of this article you will see why McKinsey was forced to shell out over $573 million in damages to 47 states for their role in propagating the opioid crisis. The findings from the state’s law suit prompted Congress to open separate hearings on McKinsey. The combination of what they found is shocking.
The dual investigations revealed that McKinsey designed detailed strategies to help multiple Big Pharma clients accelerate the sale of OxyContin through certainly moral-less and possibly illegal methods while simultaneously being a paid consultant to the FDA making suggestions designed to soften regulations on opiates.
The government uncovered that McKinsey had “at least 22 consultants working simultaneously at both the FDA and opioid manufacturers on related topics.” Representative Carolyn Maloney stated: “McKinsey was advising both the fox and the hen-house — and getting paid by both.”
The government also demonstrated how McKinsey was part of what California’s Attorney General described as a “machine that destroyed lives.” New York’s Attorney General stated that “McKinsey's cynical and calculated marketing tactics helped fuel the opioid crisis by helping Purdue Pharma target those doctors they knew would overprescribe opioids.”
The human cost of McKinsey’s inhuman pursuit of profits
I want to take a moment to pause here. We are in a massive state of information overload and our brains can inadvertently numb to much of what we read. So, please for all those lives lost, stop here. Breathe. And take in more deeply what I just wrote above. There are people working for McKinsey who literally targeted doctors they knew would over-prescribe opioids to get other people hooked. Bottom line, this is people targeting other people to kill people for profit.
The opioid crises is by far the most devastating epidemic of the 21st century. It is runaway freight train of death and destruction that McKinsey is purposefully feeding, fattening and then feasting on the profits from death and addiction.*
*The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics report that “Over 10 million people misuse opioids in a year and opioids are a factor in as much as 8 out every 10 overdose deaths. 48,006 people overdosed on opioids in 2020 and 136 people die every day from opiate overdoses. And that number is climbing. Overall an estimated 450,000 people have died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2018.”
“I can’t hear what you are saying. Your actions are screaming too loudly.”
Through all of this McKinsey denies any wrongdoing and maintains that their work was “lawful.” However, Bob Sternfels, the firm’s global managing partner, did apologize stating that they for “fully recognize it fell short of their standards.”
That statement is not true on any level. Their actions did not fall short of their standards. They demonstrated them…very clearly. They also demonstrated the level of consciousness that dominates its corporate culture and which they not only allow, but reward.
Dr. Maya Angelou once stated, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I am heeding her wise words. McKinsey wants us to believe they are the leading experts on building ethical leaders, healthy cultures, and are committed to developing our next generation of workers. However, their actions prove they are just another corporation run by predator profiteers actively working on projects that cause people to suffer and die in the worse possible ways.
Their display of narcissism, arrogance and hypocrisy coupled with their willingness to sacrifice lives for profits is a bell that cannot be un-rung. The sheep’s clothing has been stripped from the wolf.
The “leaders” at McKinsey could have and should have chosen to use their organization’s incredible brilliance, capabilities, and influence to reduce addictions and deaths, ultimately saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Instead, they focused their talents on furthering the rate of addiction, death and destruction. That is barbaric.
More than barbaric. That’s working for the Dark Side.
A new dawn is coming and you are part of it
Thankfully human consciousness is shifting across the globe. The next iteration of conscious leaders, who are not defined by age, race, gender, or greed, are emerging. These women and men are defined by their consciousness and their ability to design, create, and build sustainable organizations that serve the integration of humanity, the planet and consciousness equally.
If you are wondering where they are and when will they appear I offer this response below:
“If not us then who? If not now, then when?” Robert Kennedy
“We are the leaders we have been waiting for.” Grace Lee Boggs, author, social activist, philosopher and feminist, at 91 years of age.
McKinsey Settles for Nearly $600 Million Over Role in Opioid Crisis - The New York Times
McKinsey agrees $573m opioid settlement in US - BBC News
FDA to halt McKinsey contracts amid federal probes into opioid work - NBC news.
Lawmakers scrutinize McKinsey's opioid, FDA consulting work - local10.com
Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.
This is shocking stuff Jeff! It is not enough to fine the company. Those who planned, executed, and reaped the profits need more than a financial slap on the wrist. They should be personally held accountable and prosecuted for crimes against humanity. They should then spend a long time in prison.
I couldn’t agree more Charlie. White collar crime gets almost a total pass in this country. It’s such a travesty.
So, I am living in Nashville now. I moved here in January. Are you still in TN?
Thank you Jeff. Powerfully and succinctly stated. I wonder what would happen if the criminal activity received more than fines. Also, this crisis has caused an “unintended consequence”. For people like my husband who need pain killers (opiates) it is increasingly more difficult and inconvenient to have them prescribed. Conscious leadership is what’s required from all stakeholders.
Thank you Melinda,
The whole thing is beyond a travesty. I am so done with predatory capitalists. More people need to go to jail. And I am sorry to hear about your struggles. Walgreens, CVS and other pharmacies have also been fined close to a BILLION dollars for their role in the crises as well.
Big Pharma, Big Pharmacies and Big Consultants are willing to murder our youth for their profits, bonuses and career paths. It is beyond sickening to me.
Good luck with your husbands health. I am sending healing energy your way.
I have to say I have relied a lot on McKenzie research and market intelligence in my consulting work, and I am grateful for what they have so freely shared, it has been quite beneficial. However, I have never thought of them as having a role in fostering great leadership, rather, just efficient exploitation of opportunities. I think of them more as super intelligent, hardworking, highly capable (even though they are occasionally dead wrong), and sadly but somewhat understandably, ruthless. I wonder if they even have an ESG statement, policy or program? Here’s an interesting article about their down side: https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/the-many-times-mckinsey-has-been-embroiled-in-scandals-43996
Thanks Jeffrey for the work you are doing, its the direction the world is heading, at least I certainly hope so. Keep up the good work! Brent
When a company develops a product that could cause death, harm or addiction, they better have a backup plan for each risk. That is the moral thing to do. Careful guidelines, strict protocols as to how to administer this drug, and complete access to addiction services, FREE of charge to all that used their products. Not everyone that takes these monstrous drugs will get addicted, but the percentage rate is so off the chart from OxyContin, that it should have been available when the drug came to market. I feel so blessed to not be one of those corporate immoral higher ups that actually said we will sell this drug to any willing doctor, who will turn their back on their patients and disregard the risks, even death to gain a profit from them. I call these years GREEDGATE. Greed has become so fashionable that being the ” good guy” actually creates suspicion. I see it in politics, the corporate world and every part of our society. I choose to rise above those people. I will never refer them out, I will never vote for them, or support such behavior. I have such honorable clients that are looking for great companies to support their talents. This gives me hope for a better tomorrow. We have the power to create change. Let’s go for it!