Buttigieg's Former Firm Shells Out $573 Million to Evade Lawsuits Over Role in Opioid Crisis

Also busted for fixing bread prices in Canada

February 4, 2021

The controversial consulting firm where Pete Buttigieg worked after graduating from Oxford has agreed to pay $573 million as part of a multi-state legal settlement over its role advising major drug manufacturers during the opioid crisis.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Consulting giant McKinsey & Co. has reached a $573 million settlement with states over its work advising OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and other drug manufacturers to aggressively market opioid painkillers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal, reached with 47 states and the District of Columbia and expected to be publicly announced Thursday, would avert civil lawsuits that attorneys general could bring against McKinsey, the people said. The majority of the money will be paid upfront, with the rest dispensed in four yearly payments starting in 2022.

Buttigieg was recently sworn in as secretary of transportation, becoming the second openly gay individual to serve in a presidential cabinet. He worked at McKinsey from 2007 to 2010. One of Buttigieg's clients, the Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws, admitted to taking part in a scheme to artificially increase the price of bread over a 14-year period that included Buttigieg's tenure at McKinsey.

The Canadian price-fixing scheme became what young people refer to as a "meme" after New York Times editorial board member Binyamin Applebaum confronted Buttigieg over his role in the scandal during an interview in January 2020.

Applebaum epically accused the former mayor of Indiana's fourth-largest city (South Bend) of having served "on the front lines of corporate downsizing" and "corporate price fixing," causing Buttigieg to lash out with rage. The noble journalist, he dangerously alleged, was trafficking in "bullshit."

Applebaum's unassailable retort—"You worked for a company that was fixing bread prices"—will go down in history as one of the greatest achievements in American journalism.