From the outside, it appears that life has been good—and fabulously profitable—for the Sackler family since the launch of OxyContin in 1995. The Sacklers, whose Purdue Pharma produces the drug, have made their philanthropic mark with well-publicized, large donations to universities and art galleries even as the opioid crisis has deepened. This week, though, the headlines have turned less flattering, including:
- A lawsuit. More than 500 cities, counties, and Native American tribes say in a new suit that members of the Sackler family helped cause "the worst drug crisis in American history." The family is accused of knowingly breaking laws to build profits, the Guardian reports, and, specifically, of misleading advertising and deceiving doctors and patients about the risks of OxyContin.
- Scathing line: There have been other filings, many of which targeted companies; this one targets Sacklers by name. "Eight people in a single family made the choices that caused much of the opioid epidemic," the suit says. It was filed in the southern district of New York. The family and Purdue deny the allegations.