There must be something in the water at McKinsey. Or perhaps they screen for it in the DNA in the hiring process. The gang there at McKinsey could not spot a conflict if it was written on a neon sign in Amish farm country in Lancaster. These pages have documented the legendary firm’s blindness to conflicts in the past. However, the New York Times has culled through the firm’s e-mails, obtained through a congressional investigation of McKinsey’s work with Purdue Pharma — the mighty marketer of Oxycontin, an opioid.
Turns out that McKinsey was also serving as a consultant for Alex M. Azar, the former HHS secretary. The McKinsey folks working with HHS issued reports warning Secretary Azar of the importance of addressing the opioid crisis. However, the warnings really did not get to HHS in their original form. That would be because McKinsey partners working with Purdue, in e-mails, objected. When the author of the strategic plan focus for HHS was vetoed a few times he wrote that a colleague working with Purdue “waters down whatever I say.” Chris Hamby, Walt Bogdanich, Michael Forsyth, and Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, “How McKinsey Advised Purdue and the FDA,” New York Times, April 14, 2022, p. A1.
McKinsey’s response? “Because there was not a conflict of interest, there was not a requirement of disclosure.” So there!
One side of the house is stopping the other side of the house working with the regulators from regulating even as they are pushing exponential sales plans for their regulated pharma client. How could there be a conflict? It’s either in the water or DNA. No one is this untrainable on compliance.