BOSTON – The nation’s deadly opioid crisis is bringing new and unwanted attention to the wealthy Sackler family and complicating its philanthropic legacy.
The Sacklers own Purdue Pharma, the Connecticut-based maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin, and the family name is on the walls at some of the world’s great museums and universities, including the Smithsonian, the Guggenheim and Harvard.
Members of the family have been accused in a lawsuit brought by the state of Massachusetts of deceiving patients and doctors about the risks of OxyContin.
In light of the allegations, activists have called on institutions to cut ties with the family.
Many of the donations, however, were made by Arthur Sackler, who died nearly a decade before OxyContin even went on the market. His widow says it’s unfair to connect him to the opioid crisis.