A controversy is enveloping one of America’s wealthiest families. It involves the fraught relationship between pharmaceutical companies at the heart of the opioid crisis and the nonprofits they fund.
In this case, the company is Purdue Pharma, which is owned by the Sackler family. Their wealth exceeds $13bn, and over the years, the family have been generous patrons of medical research at the nation’s leading universities, including Columbia, Cornell, Tufts and Yale.
Purdue Pharma produces the opioid OxyContin. Purdue told doctors the drug had a low addiction rate, because it was a time-released medication. Alas, this was not the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death toll from OxyContin and related prescription opioids now exceeds 200,000. The federal government estimates that 2.4 million Americans currently suffer from opioid addiction disorders.