Partner At Firm Under Investigation For Role In Opioid Crisis Sat On Veteran Health Panel With Dem Governors

A partner at a consulting firm under criminal investigation for its role in the opioid crisis sat alongside Democratic governors during a Friday panel on veterans’ healthcare, Politico reported.

Scott Blackburn is a partner at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm the Department of Justice is investigating for advising top opioid manufacturers on ways to sell more drugs, including by targeting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), The Wall Street Journal reported. Blackburn on Friday sat alongside Democratic Govs. Janet Mills of Maine and Wes Moore of Maryland for a Democratic Governors Association panel concerning the best ways for veterans to obtain healthcare and re-adapt to civilian life, Politico first reported.

The VA had contracted McKinsey for consulting work since 2009, during which time the firm also advised opioid manufacturers on how to sell their drugs to the agency, according to the WSJ. Between 2013 and 2017, McKinsey provided several presentations to top opioid manufacturers on how to market their drugs to the VA.

One 2013 presentation McKinsey produced for Purdue Pharmaceuticals told the opioid manufacturer that it could “explore institutional sales channels and ways to engage large institutions (e.g. long term care, VA hospitals),” WSJ reported. A presentation later that year also advised the drug company to target the VA for increased sales.

Blackburn was a partner at McKinsey between 2005 and 2014, meaning his employment overlapped with the firm’s opioid consulting, according to his LinkedIn profile. After working at McKinsey, Blackburn served in various roles at the VA before returning to McKinsey as a partner in 2018.

“We’re proud of the work that Scott and other McKinsey colleagues do to support our veterans’ community, and we were pleased to participate in this important discussion,” a McKinsey spokesperson told Politico.

McKinsey reached a $642 million settlement related to opioid lawsuits in 2021, according to WSJ.

McKinsey has a cozy relationship with the Democratic Governors Association, donating $110,000 to the group in 2023, according to Politico. By comparison, the firm gave $71,500 to the Republican Governors Association that year.

McKinsey and the Democratic Governors Association did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.


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