The family behind Purdue Pharma is finding that no one wants their donations.
By: Gerald Tendlerberg
The Sacklers, long a formidable name in New York society and known for their generosity, have been – rightly or wrongly – blamed, at least in part, for the opioid crisis.
The billionaires behind OxyContin and other pharmaceuticals has donated tens of millions of dollars to such prestigious institutions and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History.
Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show more than 200,000 deaths from prescription opioids since the launch of OxyContin back in 1996. And part of that awful stench seems to have attached itself – rightly or wrongly – to the Sackler name.
The family has “become synonymous with the opioid crisis. And it’s costing them their social status in NYC,” the New York Post recently wrote. “More than 2,000 lawsuits target Purdue Pharma for aggressively marketing OxyContin despite the painkiller having known addictive qualities. New York and Massachusetts lawsuits filed by the states’ attorneys general revealed Purdue’s plan, titled “Project Tango,” to roll out medicine to counter OxyContin addiction — ensuring profit on both ends of the spectrum. Connecticut, Rhode Island and Utah have also taken legal action.”
Indeed, the Post quotes one source who reportedly told them, “I wouldn’t invite them to my house. I like to socialize with people who are not involved in trouble … and [who] try to improve society, not hurt it.”
The situation grew worse when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, decided to kick the family while it was done. She commented recently that she would like to see the Sackler family held accountable for its role in precipitating the opioid crisis.
“This crisis has been driven by greed, pure and simple,” Warren posted on medium.com. “If you don’t believe that, just look at the Sackler family. They’re billionaires. They own mansions around the world. Entire wings of museums in New York and London have been stamped with the family name. “But here’s the thing: the Sacklers made their money pushing OxyContin. Pushing it even as study after study demonstrated its addictive potential. Even as hundreds of thousands of Americans died.”
Warren added that she looks forward to an America “where when people like the Sacklers destroy millions of lives to make money, they don’t get museum wings named after them, they go to jail.”