Of philanthropists to outcasts: the family after the crisis of opiate-united States

The family behind the pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma went from being a global benchmark of philanthropy to become an emblem of the crisis of opioid that has

Of philanthropists to outcasts: the family after the crisis of opiate-united States

The family behind the pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma went from being a global benchmark of philanthropy to become an emblem of the crisis of opioid that has been sweeping across the united States. The Sackler, richer than the Rockefellers, according to Forbes, erected a great part of its heritage thanks to the OxyContin, an opiate that, according to thousands of claimants are marketed with deceptive advertising, hiding their addictive potential. In September, Purdue Pharma, has declared bankruptcy and the Sackler announced that it transferred control of the company to an entity created to “benefit to the plaintiffs and to the american people.” In addition, be disbursed to 3,000 million dollars of his fortune as part of a preliminary agreement to put an end to more than 2,000 lawsuits in state and federal. However, there are still more than a dozen States that have rejected the compensation due to it being very low.


The empire pharmacist who caused thousands of addiction to a painkiller museums are moving away from the ‘bad company’

The prestigious Tufts University in Boston, decided earlier this month to remove the surname Sackler programs, and buildings constructed thanks to your donations. According to The New York Times, the university has received approximately $ 15 million on the part of the questioned family since 1980, and “something less than half of that is still spent, which are used to fund research into cancer and epilepsy". The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris and Tate Modern in London, among other galleries, have also removed to the Sackler faculty of its walls, and have reported that they will not accept more gifts from this dynasty pharmaceutical.

Michael Rodman, a spokesman for Tufts university, argued the decision in a statement: "we Decided that the partnership with the University of Tufts was untenable and opposed to the values and mission of the school of medicine and university”. Attorney Daniel S. Connolly, representative of the family of Raymond Sackler, one of three founders of Purdue, explained in an e-mail that they have requested a meeting with the president of the university for reconcideren the decision. "We are confident that when the facts are know and understand completely, there will be no basis for rejecting the use of a surname that has supported the work of the university for more than 40 years", he argues. The Sackler have stopped doing public appearances, such as the cutting of ribbons in the institutions that gave them for decades the fame of patrons and have remained on the margins of the media.

In 2018, the Massachusetts attorney general filed a civil complaint against eight members of the Sackler because "oversaw and participated in a scheme deadly and deceptive to sell opioid". According to an audit commissioned by the pharmaceutical released in mid-December, the Sackler dropped to 10.7 billion dollar company while being accused of being responsible for the health crisis. Between 2008 and 2018, the family pulled eight times more money from Purdue Pharma that in the 13 previous years. The money transferred to trusts or family companies abroad. The bigger payout came after that, in 2007, the Department of Justice forced the pharmaceutical company to pay a fine of 634 million for misleading doctors and consumers about the effects of the OxyContin.

According to attorney Connolly, the amounts of the transfers were made public months ago, when they tried to reach an agreement with the plaintiffs, which was approved by two dozen prosecutors and thousands of local governments". He added that the reports show that "more than half was paid in taxes and reinvested in companies that will be sold as part of the proposed agreement".


The report prepared by the consulting firm AlixPartners, presented in the past 16 December in Federal Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, New York, also showed that between 1995 and 2007, the Sackler received 1.3 billion dollars in profits for Purdue Pharma, while from 2008 to 2018, the payments totaled $ 10.7 billion. To the Attorney General of New York, Letitia James, who is trying to know how much it is worth really the family heritage of the Sackler and where is your money, the more than 10 billion is the amount with the “benefited the Sackler deadly epidemic of opioid in the country.”

The Sackler have been characterized by maintaining a deathly silence during the trials against the pharmaceutical company, but there are records of how they thought. Richard Sackler, the former president of the family business, wrote in an e-mail from 2001, cited the prosecutor's office of Massachusetts: “We have to hit the abusers [of drugs] in all possible ways. They are the guilty ones and the problem. They are criminals and reckless”. One of its legal representatives argued this year that “like many people, dr. Sackler has learned a lot more about the addiction and has apologized for his language insensitive used in past decades".

The first Sackler americans were born of a couple of immigrants from Eastern Europe. The three children of the marriage grew up in Brooklyn in the twenties. Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler studied psychiatry, and in the 50's they bought a small pharmaceutical company, Purdue Frederick, which later rebranded as Purdue Pharma. The eldest, Arthur, was a pioneer of marketing in the medicine, in addition to one of the major collectors of asian art of his generation. He was a great seller, it managed to keep afloat the pharmacy. However, the greatest success of Purdue Pharma came in 1995, years after the death of Arthur. The younger Mortimer and Raymond launched the OxyContin. The u.s. agency of the drug (FDA, for its acronym in English) approved the pain reliever for pain in cancer patients, and years after would be considered the precursor of the epidemic of overdose that has claimed nearly 400,000 lives in the united States between 1997 and 2017.

The branch, multi-million dollar family descendant of Arthur is separated from the other two. After the death of the eldest of the three brothers, their descendants left the pharmaceutical business. The wife of Arthur Sackler, the philanthropist Jillian Sackler, has worked relentlessly this year to make it clear that neither she nor the children of her deceased husband have benefited from OxyContin. A month ago, in an interview to The New York Times, his concern was not in the crisis of opioids: “Now I wonder if his legacy will be retrieved any time."

Updated Date: 06 January 2020, 01:00

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