Wealth Advisor Rockville, MD
The Sackler family, whose privately company Purdue Pharma has been accused of igniting the United States’ opioid epidemic, has decided to put a halt on its philanthropy as the controversial clan as it faces an onslaught of lawsuits.
Several members of the British and American Sackler family own and control Purdue Pharma, the private pharmaceutical giant which introduced OxyContin, a reformulated version of oxycodone in a slow-release form in 1996. The drug, which was created to treat moderate to severe pain and is 50 percent stronger than morphine, has been misbranded and heavily promoted, is seen as a key drug in the emergence of the opioid epidemic.
The company has been accused of downplaying the pain killer’s addictive risk and advising doctors to prescribe the highest dosage possible to increase profits.
The family’s charitable organization The Sackler Trust has donated millions of dollars to charities and institutions, but announced this week it was halting new donations in the U.K.
Trust chairwoman Theresa Sackler released a statement to the press in which she said she was “deeply saddened” by the addiction crisis in the U.S., but rejected “false allegations” against Purdue and several members of the Sackler family. The statement also blames negative press and the lawsuits for “distracting” The Sackler Trust from its “important work.”
“The current press attention that these legal cases in the United States is generating has created immense pressure on the scientific, medical, educational and arts institutions here in the U.K., large and small, that I am so proud to support,” wrote Theresa Sackler in a statement. “This attention is distracting them from the important work that they do,” she said.
“The Trustees of the Sackler Trust have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all new philanthropic giving, while still honoring existing commitments. I remain fully committed to all the causes the Sackler Trust supports, but at this moment it is the better course for the Trust to halt all new giving until we can be confident that it will not be a distraction for institutions that are applying for grants.”
According to the National Institute on Drug abuse, drug overdose deaths rose from 16,849 in 1999 to 70,237 in 2017.
On March 28, the New York attorney general add members of the Sackler family as defendants to an existing lawsuit. On March 27, Purdue Pharma settled a $270 million lawsuit with the Oklahoma attorney general’s office over its participation in the opioid crisis. A large portion of the money, $200 million, will be going to national center for wellness and recovery in Oklahoma.
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