Attorney General Steve Marshall announced his second distribution of funds recovered by the state through its February 2021 settlement with McKinsey & Company for its role in the opioid crisis.
In a meeting at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences lab in Hoover, Attorney General Marshall awarded Director Angelo Della Manna $2.95 million to invest into the state’s forensic labs to improve the quality and turnaround time of the agency’s opioid-related cases.
ADFS is the sole provider of forensic laboratory services to all 450-plus law-enforcement agencies across Alabama.
According to the terms of the state’s settlement with McKinsey, funds recovered by the state are to 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.
The need for increased investment in Alabama’s drug chemistry and forensic toxicology capabilities is largely due to the continued emergence of new synthetic and designer opioid compounds being developed and distributed across Alabama.
In reaching the settlement, the state alleged that McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by promoting marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, for more than a decade.
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 said: “Our state forensics lab, like so many across the country, has been battling backlogs caused by the opioid epidemic. 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.”
ADFS Director Angelo Della Manna said: “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. 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.”
Alabama will receive $7.6 million this year, and a total of $9 million, from McKinsey & Company. This is the first multistate opioid settlement to result in substantial payment to the states to address the crisis. On Monday, the attorney general announced a $1.5 million distribution to the state’s district attorneys.
The state is set to begin trial in its case against Endo Pharmaceuticals and McKesson Corporation on Nov. 1, 2021. The state also has pending claims against opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt, and Insys in each of their respective bankruptcy cases.