Sackler family, Purdue Pharma and the US opioid crisis


The Sacklers have become one of the world’s most controversial families.

They are the owners of Purdue Pharma, a pharmaceutical company that produces the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

As a result, the family has been accused of fuelling a deadly opioid crisis in the US that has killed more than 200,000 people in two decades.

Purdue and the Sacklers have denied allegations in lawsuits that they contributed to the opioid crisis, and have pointed to heroin and fentanyl as more significant culprits than prescription painkillers.

The family has also long been known for philanthropy, with museum wings, galleries and even escalators across the world named after them.

Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy
Sackler family “funneled $1bn into different bank accounts”
Is this America’s most hated family?
On Sunday Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection, as part of the company’s efforts to deal with the thousands of lawsuits it is facing in connection with the opioid crisis.

Last week, the firm had reached a tentative deal to settle most of those lawsuits.

So who are the Sacklers, and what is the scale of the opioid crisis?

US opioid deaths:
399,000 deaths were linked to opioids between 1999 and 2017
218,000 of these deaths were linked to prescription opioids
47,600 people died of an opioids overdose in 2017
192 die from an opioid overdose every day.
Source: US Center for Disease Control and Prevention,

The scale of US addiction:
1.7 million people addicted to prescription opioids in 201780%of heroin users started by using prescription opioids
191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in 2017
$78.5 billion- the annual cost to the country of opioid addiction
Source: US Center for Disease Control and Prevention,

The Sackler family:
$13 billion- the family’s estimated wealth in 2016
$270 million- Purdue Pharma’s settlement with the state of Oklahoma
2,600states, local governments taking legal action against them
Source: Forbes, New York attorney general

The Sackler name:
here are just some of the museums and galleries bearing the family’s name.
£14.5 million- the cost of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, opened in 2013
£4 million to Tate; Tate Modern’s escalators are named after the family
£2 million to build the Sackler Courtyard at the V&A museum in London
£1 million planned grant for National Portrait Gallery, later canceled
$9.5 million(£7.6m) – to Met Museum’s Sackler Wing in 1978, which is…
$36 million(£29m) in today’s money
Source: NY Times, Guardia