Consultants To Big Pharma Pay A Heavy Price

Dennis Perman_Message of the Week

Dear Doctor:

An important lawsuit was settled, as reported in the New York Times – McKinsey and Company, consultant to some of the largest corporations in the world, is being forced to pay $573,000,000 for the role they played in promoting opioids in the midst of wildfire addiction.

This is momentous because McKinsey did not manufacture the painkillers, they just guided the manufacturers on how to market them, and thus capitalize on the frailties of the pharmaceutical consumers, the patients who were victimized by such prurient activity.

Part of the settlement allows them to disclaim any “wrongdoing”, but they were contrite when they released this statement: “As we look back at our client service during the opioid crisis, we recognize that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in our communities or the terrible impact of opioid abuse and addiction on millions of families across the country.”

The agreement covers 47 states and Washington DC, and came after a deluge of information was presented that showed how McKinsey “turbocharged” the sales of Oxycontin for Purdue and the Sackler family, who have had to pay billions in penalties. As much as $468,000,000 must be collected within 60 days, directed specifically toward opioid treatment, prevention and recovery programs.

Over 450,000 opioid-related fatalities have been reported over the last twenty years, and this is the first time a marketing company has been culpable for the products they helped to sell. While we have become numb to death counts in the COVID era, this is a staggering cost in human capital and lost opportunity – it’s good that justice is prevailing and the perpetrators are being held accountable.

It is of note that the magnitude of this punishment represents more than the company profited from its advisory work with Purdue, Johnson & Johnson, Endo International and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, their clients who make and distribute opioids. While companies like these can usually outrun such fines, this stings McKinsey in a way that may discourage similar behaviors from other consulting firms.

Let’s remember the significant role we chiropractors can play in resolving such culture-wide dilemmas – patients seek relief when they are in dire pain, and safe, all-natural chiropractic care is the best answer for millions of those sufferers. It’s up to us to publicize it, and we may not have the luxury of multi-billion dollar ad agencies or Big Pharma’s clout – we’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way, by launching grass roots efforts that educate and inspire people to explore all the options available to them before they take someone’s word and slide down the slippery slope of drug dependency.

My dear partner Dr. Bob Hoffman often says, “There has never been a better time to be a chiropractor!” This is more applicable now than ever – with all the sick individuals and families, some of whom may be beyond our scope of practice, but many who fall safely within, we have the chance to make a real impact on the health and well-being of those we touch and serve.

Healthy people generally do not die from coronavirus, just as people who aren’t in excruciating pain usually do not need opioids – instead of heroic interventions, let’s continue and intensify our relentless movement toward a “things natural” reality, where it makes more sense to get well and stay well than to try to rescue yourself from the abyss of illness.

It’s a winnable game, we just have to play harder and better. People are ready to be led — lead them.

Dennis Perman DC, for The Masters Circle Global

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