France’s vaccine contracts with McKinsey lead to questions for Macron.


The contracts — totaling 11 million euros ($13.3 million), of which €4 million went to McKinsey — were confirmed by a parliamentary committee this month. The government of President Emmanuel Macron, which has been under fire for months for stumbling in its handling of the pandemic, was forced to admit it had turned to consulting firms.

On Wednesday, 18 lawmakers from the conservative party Les Républicains sent a letter to Mr. Macron seeking further answers about why McKinsey was hired.

The letter cited McKinsey’s recent agreement to pay nearly $600 million to the authorities in the United States to settle claims that it contributed to “the devastating opioid crisis” as a concern for its involvement in French health matters.

A spokesman for McKinsey declined to comment.

Mr. Macron, a former investment banker, came into office promising to operate one of Europe’s biggest governments with greater efficiency. Its response to the coronavirus pandemic has been criticized inside France for being the opposite, with repeated lockdowns, supply shortages and a failure last summer to put in place a critical triptych of testing, tracing and isolation.

No one is accusing McKinsey of wrongdoing. The company has rolled out its pandemic consulting services in other countries, including Britain and the United States. But to critics of the French government’s strategy, the performance raises questions over the value that consultants add to the process.

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