Former McKinsey Partner Takes Legal Stand, Accuses Firm of Opioid Scapegoating

In the midst of the convoluted landscape surrounding the opioid epidemic, a former McKinsey & Co partner, Arnab Ghatak, has stepped into the legal fray, filing a lawsuit against the global consulting giant. Ghatak alleges that McKinsey unfairly targeted him as a “scapegoat” to divert attention from its involvement with OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and other players in the opioid pain medication market.

Ghatak, ousted from McKinsey in 2021, wasted no time in launching his legal offensive, lodging his complaint in a New York state court just days after reports emerged of a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice into McKinsey’s role in the opioid crisis. The investigation’s focus includes suspicions of obstruction of justice, particularly related to the deletion of documents concerning McKinsey’s work with opioidsโ€”a task in which Ghatak played a significant role.

Central to Ghatak’s lawsuit is the allegation that McKinsey’s global managing partner, Bob Sternfels, misled Congress and the public regarding Ghatak’s involvement in the document deletion. Ghatak claims that McKinsey concocted a false narrative, asserting that he violated a nonexistent document retention policy to serve as a convenient diversion from McKinsey’s decades-long association with non-abuse deterrent opioids.

The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages from McKinsey and Sternfels, paints a picture of a firm desperate to absolve itself of culpability in the opioid crisis by sacrificing Ghatak as a sacrificial lamb. However, a spokesperson for McKinsey staunchly rebuffed these claims, denouncing the lawsuit as “entirely meritless” and reiterating the firm’s stance that Ghatak was terminated for grave breaches of professional standards.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice has remained tight-lipped on the matter, declining to comment on the ongoing legal saga.

McKinsey’s entanglement in the opioid crisis has already cost the firm dearly, with a nearly $1 billion settlement reached to resolve a myriad of lawsuits and legal actions. Despite the hefty payout, McKinsey has not admitted wrongdoing in these civil settlements. Furthermore, the fallout from the crisis continues to reverberate, with Purdue Pharma’s multi-billion-dollar settlement currently in limbo pending a Supreme Court review.

As the legal battle unfolds, Ghatak’s lawsuit adds another layer of complexity to the intricate web of accountability surrounding the opioid epidemic, shedding light on the lengths to which individuals and corporations will go to evade responsibility.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to Top