Laurel Duggan on July 28, 2022
- As CEO of the Trevor Project, Amit Paley has promoted biomedical interventions for transgender children.
- Paley previously worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., where he advised OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma when the opioid crisis was well underway.
- Paley helped Purdue Pharma strategize to improve opioid sales when the company was under scrutiny for its promotion of OxyContin before the company was dissolved in a massive settlement over its role in the opioid crisis, according to a HuffPost investigation.
Amit Paley, CEO of an LGBT organization which promotes medical sex changes for youths, advised OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma on how to increase its sales during the opioid crisis while he was working at a consulting firm, according to HuffPost.
Paley is currently CEO of The Trevor Project, an LGBT-focused suicide prevention organization which promotes medical sex changes for transgender-identified youths. Paley, who is listed as one of the World Economic Forum’s young leaders, volunteered at The Trevor Lifeline for six years before leaving consultant firm McKinsey & Co. to become CEO of The Trevor Project in 2017, according to HuffPost, who examined thousands of documents, including internal emails, released as part of McKinsey’s $573 million settlement over its role in the opioid crisis.
Paley was a rising associate partner at McKinsey when he collaborated with Purdue executives on a 10-year plan to help the company increase its sales of opioids and other products in 2016; at least 33,000 people had died the year before of opioid-related overdoses, according to HuffPost. Purdue at that time was subject to widespread criticism for its aggressive promotion of the drug OxyContin; nearly four million people had abused prescription oxycodone in the previous year, a 2016 federal survey found.
Gender-affirming care can save lives.
— Amit Paley (@amitpaley) April 20, 2022
As the CEO of the Trevor Project, Paley has been a vocal proponent of biomedical interventions for transgender youths, which advocates euphemistically refer to as “gender-affirming care.” This includes “socially transitioning” to the opposite sex with new names and pronouns, as well as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sex change surgeries.
“@FLDeptofHealth‘s non-binding guidance opposing gender-affirming care is not only ill-informed, but it also goes against the recommendation of every major medical + mental health association,” Paley wrote April 20. “Gender-affirming care can save lives.”
“The research is clear: gender-affirming care produces positive mental health outcomes and decreases suicidality,” he wrote in February 2020.
Many medical experts have disputed the safety of gender-affirming medications, citing the potential harms of the treatments themselves and of fast-tracking children through gender transitions without directly addressing mental health issues.
The FDA warned that puberty blockers could be linked to brain swelling, vision loss and other serious risks July 1.
England’s National Health Service plans to shut down the country’s only transgender clinic for children after an investigation found that doctors were rushing children through biomedical interventions without first considering their mental health, neurodivergence and behavioral issues.
“There is not a single long-term study to demonstrate the safety or efficacy of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for transgender-believing youth,” the American College of Pediatricians said. “This means that youth transition is experimental, and therefore, parents cannot provide informed consent, nor can minors provide assent for these interventions. Moreover, the best long-term evidence we have among adults shows that medical intervention fails to reduce suicide.”
Under Paley’s leadership, the Trevor Project released a study in December 2021 which claimed to find a positive relationship between access to “gender-affirming hormone therapy” in adolescence and lower depression and suicide risk. In reality, transgender youth in the study were only 8-14% less likely to report recent depression or seriously consider or attempt suicide in the last year compared to those who wanted but did not receive hormones, the study found, and they were still about 3,000% more likely to have attempted suicide in the last year compared to the general population.
“It’s clear that gender-affirming care has the potential to reduce rates of depression and suicide attempts while banning this vital care and exposing young people to harmful political rhetoric can cause real harm” our CEO @amitpaley 👏🏾👏🏽👏🏿https://t.co/foVDyOvSrj
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) December 15, 2021
The study had several methodological issues, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found, and it wasn’t a randomized trial, but instead found respondents through targeted ads on social media who filled out an online quiz, and volunteers were offered $50 prizes to participate.
Paley was a key member of a 2016 effort to create a big data strategy for Purdue, and the team’s pitch (which was ultimately rejected) included suggestions that the company identify “undiagnosed patients” who weren’t taking Purdue’s “high-value products,” according to HuffPost. The Trevor Project told HuffPost that it would be inaccurate to characterize Paley as a leader on this project.
Paley worked with Purdue on a nearly daily basis during the 10-year-plan project, during which he served as a liasion between the pharmaceutical company and McKinsey, according to HuffPost. Paley acknowledged that Purdue was trying to “improve impressions of opioids” in one email to a colleague.
Purdue was dissolved in 2021 as part of a $4.5 billion settlement over the company’s role in the opioid crisis.
The Trevor Project did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment, but a representative told HuffPost that Paley only billed 168 hours to Purdue and only worked on one out of the dozens of projects that McKinsey handled for Purdue.
“Amit served Purdue for a relatively brief period of time while in a junior role,” a McKinsey spokesman told HuffPost. “It would be incorrect to present his client service to Purdue as central or leading.”
McKinsey, Purdue and Paley did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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