American management consulting firm McKinsey&Company has agreed to settle for $573 million over its involvement in the opioid crisis, according to local media on Wednesday.

The firm’s role involved advising health and pharmaceutical companies about how to handle opioid sales in the overdose crisis.

Opioids and their counterfeits — including heroin, illicit fentanyl, and oxycodone — prescribed as painkillers, have caused the death of more than 470,000 people combined in the US since 2000.

The prescription drug epidemic has even worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.

Manufacturers of prescription opioids have seen a number of lawsuits in recent years from state and local governments in the US, but this time a consulting firm has become a target.

In McKinsey’s case, the firm advised Purdue Pharma, the producer of oxycodone OxyContin, to try to “supercharge” its opioid sales in 2013, when the overdose crisis hit the US, according to legal documents.

Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty on Oct. 22, 2020, over its role in the US opioid epidemic, admitting it intentionally conspired to aid doctors dispensing medication.

The company had reached a settlement potentially worth $8.3 billion, while its principal owner billionaire Sackler family agreed to pay $225 million to resolve civil claims.

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