By Erica Thomas, Managing Editor
On Tuesday, Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the second round of funding being distributed from a settlement in an opioid case. The case against McKinsey & Company ended in a settlement with Alabama receiving millions after alleging the company helped fuel the opioid crisis.
$2.95 million will be invested in forensic labs to improve the quality and turnaround time of opioid-related cases. The money was awarded to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Director Angelo Della Manna.
“Alabama’s criminal justice system is severely eroded and negatively impacted without the timely analysis of forensic cases by ADFS, especially those cases involving a greater number of new and emerging opiate compounds and their synthetic analogs,” said Manna. “General Marshall has always been a steadfast supporter of the important work conducted by the Department. Today’s funding announcement will provide critical assistance to us in our efforts to decrease the backlog of opioid cases, thereby making Alabama a safer place—each and every day.”
The ADFS provides lab services to more than 450 law enforcement agencies in Alabama.
“Our state forensics lab, like so many across the country, has been battling backlogs caused by the opioid epidemic,” Marshall said. “This investment in new technology will give ADFS the tools they need to quickly identify trends in increasingly complex synthetic opioids and to aid law enforcement in identifying opioid traffickers. Director Della Manna leads a top-notch team of scientists that takes great pride in what they do. They deserve our full support.”
In the lawsuit, the State alleged that McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by promoting marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers for more than a decade. Those drugmakers included Purdue Pharma, which produces OxyContin.
“The complaint, filed with the settlement, details how McKinsey advised Purdue on how to maximize profits from its opioid products, including targeting high-volume opioid prescribers, using specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients, and circumventing pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions,” Marshall’s office said in a statement.
Alabama will receive $7.6 million this year, and a total of $9 million, from McKinsey & Company, according to the AG’s office.
Funds gained from the settlement must be used “to remediate the harms caused to the State and its citizens by the opioid epidemic” and “to recover the costs incurred by the state in investigating and pursuing its claims” against McKinsey.
Marshall awarded $1.5 million to the prosecutors in the case on Monday to go to specialty courts.
There will be one more distribution from the settlement announced this week.
The State also has pending claims against opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt, and Insys in each of their respective bankruptcy cases, and a trial is set for November, in the State’s case against Endo Pharmaceuticals and McKesson Corporation.