Mathis calls on Newsom to divest from McKinsey over opioid involvement

Consulting firm McKinsey & Company currently contracts with the state of California, even though the company has been involved with selling drugs that have contributed to the opioid epidemic.

Asm. Devon Mathis (R–Visalia) led a group of lawmakers in a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to cut all ties with consulting firm McKinsey & Company for its involvement in opioid addiction. 

While it’s unrelated to Mathis’s request, McKinsey & Company also has ties to a company that tanked a major Central Valley stone fruit producer. 


The big picture: Mathis and his fellow Assemblymembers called on Newsom to order all state agencies to divest from McKinsey & Company to take action to tackle the opioid epidemic. 

  • Along with Mathis, Assemblymembers James Gallagher (R–Yuba City), Phillip Chen (R–Yorba Linda), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D–Fullerton), Evan Low (D–Sunnyvale), Tri Ta (R–Westminster) and Jim Patterson (R–Fresno) signed the letter. 
  • In the letter, Lawmakers said McKinsey & Company are responsible for the aggressive  sales tactics that have hooked millions of Americans on opioids, including many. 
  • California Has the largest number of veterans in the nation, yet the state continues to contract with McKinsey & Company despite many veterans being prescribed opioids. 
  • McKinsey & Company also paid $600 million to settle lawsuits over its work with Purdue Pharma to drive sales of OxyContin painkillers. 

In other news: McKinsey & Company was named in a lawsuit that Central Valley peach farmer Dan Gerawan filed against Paine Schwartz, the investment company that owns Prima Wawona. 

  • Gerawan merged his company, Gerawan Farming, with Wawona Packing in 2019, giving Paine Schwartz control of what became the largest stone fruit producer in the world. 
  • Yet Prima Wawona’s value has tanked, leading Gerawan to file a lawsuit accusing Paine Schwartz of trying to enrich McKinsey & Company. Both companies had long-standing ties to each other, and the lawsuit said many Paine Schwartz employees are former employees of McKinsey & Company. 
  • The consulting firm also was involved in the initial shaping of the Fresno DRIVE Initiative, a proposed overhaul of Fresno’s economy led by former Mayor Ashley Swearengin and the Central Valley Community Foundation.

What they’re saying: “It’s beyond clear that the unethical sales tactics that McKinsey & Co. and their pharmaceutical clients engaged in contributed to getting millions of Americans, including many Veterans, addicted to opioids,” Mathis said. “As the first millennial combat Veteran with a Purple Heart elected to state office in the country, I know firsthand the negative impact that the McKinsey & Co. group has had upon both myself and many of my fellow service members.”

  • Mathis said it is unfathomable that taxpayers are paying the same company that played a major role in the opioid crisis. 
  • “For this reason, we have requested that Governor Newsom order State Agencies to take immediate steps to divest from McKinsey & Co. The fact that we have Legislators on both sides of the aisle signing onto this letter signifies that this is not a partisan issue,” Mathis said. “I hope the Governor takes this issue seriously and agrees to divest California Agencies from a company whose practices have devastated millions of American families.”
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