This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont. Credit: Toby Talbot / AP

Maine will receive $3.14 million to address the opioid crisis in a multistate settlement with the consulting firm that advised a major drug manufacturer to aggressively market its addictive painkillers to doctors, according to the Maine attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Aaron Frey joined a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories in the $573 million settlement with McKinsey & Co., one of the world’s largest consulting firms.

This is the first multi-state opioid settlement to result in substantial payments to states to address the epidemic, according to Marc Malon, spokesperson for Frey’s office. Lawsuits against Purdue Pharma and other manufacturers of prescription opioids are pending throughout the country.

“This settlement is one step toward achieving accountability and redress for the harms caused by companies which aggressively pushed opioids into states like Maine and profited greatly from it,” Frey said Thursday in announcing the settlement. “McKinsey played a critical role in advising manufacturers like Purdue in how to market their product, so this settlement is appropriate. We will continue to aggressively pursue Purdue, the Sackler family, and other manufacturers and distributors responsible for this epidemic which continues to wreak havoc on our state.”

The opioid epidemic has led to considerable harm to individuals and communities in Maine over the past 20 years, Malon said. During this time, thousands of Mainers have died from drug overdoses. Addictions have created considerable costs to the state in health care, child welfare, criminal justice, and other programs that deal with the opioid crisis’ fallout. The crisis has also resulted in lost economic opportunity and productivity, and families torn apart.

Overdose deaths have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, showing the addiction crisis isn’t over.

Documents filed in Kennebec County Superior Court described how McKinsey promoted marketing schemes to drug manufacturers, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, for more than a decade, Malon said. They show how McKinsey advised Purdue on maximizing profits from its opioid products, including by targeting high-volume opioid prescribers and using specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients, and circumventing pharmacy restrictions to deliver high-dose prescriptions.

When states began to sue Purdue Pharma’s directors for their implementation of McKinsey’s marketing schemes, McKinsey partners began emailing each other about deleting documents and emails related to their work for Purdue.

In addition to the financial settlement, the agreement calls for McKinsey to prepare tens of thousands of its internal documents detailing its work for Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies for public disclosure online.

McKinsey has also agreed to adopt a strict document retention plan, continue its investigation into allegations that two of its partners tried to destroy documents in response to investigations of Purdue Pharma, implement a strict ethics code that all partners must agree to each year and stop advising clients about how to market potentially dangerous narcotics.

Watch more: