The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the Justice Department would conduct a “criminal investigation into consulting firm McKinsey related to its past role in advising some of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers on how to boost sales.”

According to the WSJ report, “McKinsey consultants advised the company [Purdue] on how to increase sales of its flagship drug, including suggesting that Purdue’s sales team make more calls to healthcare providers it knew wrote high volumes of OxyContin prescriptions and spend less time on doctors who prescribed the opioid medication the least, the records showed.” Oxy

Imagine that. McKinsey allegedly tried to help Purdue tailor its sales efforts to doctors who already prescribed oral opioid drugs. There’s nothing mysterious or nefarious about this. It is standard and economically rational. To do otherwise would be inefficient and wasteful. Some consultants do this sort of work virtually every day. The small consulting company, Objective Insights, Inc. (co-owned by one of the authors) has performed it a handful of times.

This is from David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper, “Is Promoting to Customers a Crime?” American Institute for Economic Research, June 18, 2024.

Read the whole thing, which is not long.