Only When Beneficiaries Take a Stand Against Dark Money Will Decency be Touted over Wealth, the Louvre

Louvre, Paris

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Louvre removes Sackler family from museum walls

France’s Louvre Museum has erased the Sackler name from its walls, removing any physical trace of its ties to the billionaire family that owns opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma.

The art philanthropist family’s name was quietly removed from a wing dedicated to eastern antiquities over the last few weeks, The New York Times reported.

The wing has been known as the Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities since 1997.

A plaque honouring the family’s donations to the museum was also removed from the gallery’s entrance and any mentions of the “Sackler Wing” on the museum’s website have also been deleted.

A representative of the museum said the Sackler’s name was erased because it had exceeded a time limit.

“On 10 October, 2003, the museum board decided to limit the duration period named room to 20 years. [The Sackler] donation is more than 20 years old, the name-period is therefore legally closed and these rooms no longer carry the Sackler name,” the statement said.

The removal follows major museums in Europe and New York announcing they will no longer accept donations from the family.

The family behind Purdue Pharma has been the subject of multiple lawsuits from different states in the US for its alleged role in the country’s opioid epidemic. The transatlantic family are decedents of three Sackler brothers—Raymond, Arthur and Mortimer—who turned their small pharmaceutical firm into a family-controlled enterprise, which eventually became the $3 billion revenue-making Purdue Pharma. The company introduced OxyContin in 1996.

Your Money is No Good Here! Disassociating a Name – Sackler and the Louvre

 

Louvre Removes Sackler Family Name From Its Walls

Protesters from the activist group PAIN in front of the Louvre on July 1. Members of the Sackler family own the company that makes the opioid OxyContin.

The Louvre in Paris has removed the name of the Sackler family from its walls, becoming the first major museum to erase its public association with the philanthropist family linked with the opioid crisis in the United States.

The Louvre’s collection of Persian and Levantine artifacts is housed in a wing that has been known as the Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities since 1997.

But on Wednesday, a plaque acknowledging the Sacklers’ donations had been removed from the gallery’s entrance, and references to “the Sackler Wing” on other signs in the museum had been covered with gray tape.

Members of the Sackler family own Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, an enormously profitable and frequently abused painkiller that is the subject of numerous lawsuits in the United States.

In March, Britain’s National Portrait Gallery turned down a $1.3 million donation from a charitable arm of the family. That prompted a host of cultural institutions across Europe and the United States, including the Tate group of museums in Britain and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, to announce that they would not accept further donations from the family. The Sackler Trust and the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, two foundations based in Britain, suspended further philanthropy.

But many museums also said they would respect past philanthropy and would not be changing the name of any wing or gallery named after the family.

Sophie Aguirre, 50, a guard at the Louvre, said on Wednesday that the plaque at the wing was taken down on either July 8 or 9, when the wing was closed to visitors.

Nine other signs in the building that referenced the wing had been taped over. Ms. Aguirre said another large sign that acknowledged the Sackler donation had also been removed.References to “the Sackler Wing” have also been removed from the Louvre’s website.

On Tuesday, Jean-Luc Martinez, the museum’s president, told RTL, a French radio station, that the Sackler name had been taken down because the Louvre’s policy on naming rights is that they last for 20 years.

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The Sackler Family, The Opiod Crisis, Lawsuits and Who They Are… JTA

sackler

Who are the Sacklers, the family at the center of the opioid crisis?

 

NEW YORK (JTA) — In the 1930s, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler both traveled to Scotland for medical school because, they said, American universities wouldn’t admit them as Jews.

Eighty years later, academic and cultural institutions the world over are deciding whether to reject the Sackler brothers’ children — not because of their religion but because of their actions.

Mortimer and Raymond Sackler are the late patriarchs of a family under fire now for its central role in the opioid addiction crisis, which has led to hundreds of thousands of American deaths. The brothers’ giant pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma, is the manufacturer of OxyContin, one of the leading opioids on the market.

Mortimer died in 2010 and Raymond in 2017. Now their widows, along with five of their children and one grandchild, are being sued by three states for allegedly committing a range of fraudulent and deceptive practices in the marketing of OxyContin. Purdue reached a $270 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma in March.

Before becoming notorious for painkillers, the Sacklers were noted for their philanthropy. So a range of museums and schools are grappling with what to do with the wings, schools and chairs named for them. A couple of Jewish institutions, including Tel Aviv University, face that dilemma as well.

(A third Sackler brother, Arthur, died in 1987, when his brothers bought out his shares — nine years before OxyContin was introduced in 1996. Arthur’s family, which has also given philanthropically, has distanced itself from OxyContin.)

The Sackler brothers were born to Jewish immigrants from Poland and Ukraine.

Arthur Sackler, the oldest, was born in 1913 to Jewish immigrant grocers in Brooklyn. Mortimer and Raymond were born, respectively, in 1916 and 1920. The brothers became psychiatrists: Arthur earned his degree at New York University, the others attended medical school in Scotland.

Arthur lived in Manhattan, Mortimer in London and Switzerland, and Raymond in Greenwich, Connecticut.

They turned a small pharmaceutical company into an empire.

In 1952, the brothers bought Purdue-Frederick, a small New York City drug company, which later became Purdue Pharma. At the time it produced laxatives.

But everything changed in 1996 when the company began to market OxyContin, a prescription painkiller. The drug was marketed as safer than alternatives because of its so-called controlled release, which gradually released the drug into the patient’s bloodstream rather than doing so all at once.

According to a 2017 feature on the family in the New Yorker, the Food and Drug Administration said the drug was less prone to addiction than alternatives because of the controlled release. That was despite Purdue declining to do any clinical studies on the drug’s addictiveness, according to the New Yorker.

OxyContin was prescribed broadly for a wide spectrum of pain, and has made the Sacklers America’s 19th richest family with a combined net worth of $13 billion, according to Forbes. As recently as last year, eight Sacklers sat on Purdue’s board.

But recently, as the human toll of the addiction crisis has become evident — in large part, investigators complain, because the dangers of addiction to OxyContin were downplayed or kept hidden — the Sackler name has become synonymous with controversy. Now the number of Sacklers on the board is zero.

Now they are being sued for aggressively and deceptively marketing an addictive drug.

Lawsuits in New YorkMassachusetts and Connecticut charge that the Sacklers dispatched an army of marketers to portray OxyContin as a safe pain treatment despite knowing of its addictive potential.

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The Sackler Family and Inaccuracies? Let’s Just Forget About the Fortune they Made and the Victims They’ve Left…

Sackler family asks judge to toss out Massachusetts suit over ‘inaccuracies’

 

Members of the Sackler family that own the manufacturer of OxyContin, the prescription painkiller largely blamed for the opioids crisis, have asked a court to dismiss the most high-profile lawsuit against them – and on Tuesday declared that they feel “deep and profound compassion for people who are struggling with addiction”.

The eight prominent members of the multi-billionaire family are being sued in several large civil cases brought by hundreds of US cities, counties and states, accusing them of pushing aggressive sales of the drug while knowingly downplaying its dangers. On Monday night they filed a motion to dismiss the suit brought against them by Massachusetts.

The company they own, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, the most well-known brand of opioid pill, previously asked the court in Boston to toss out the suit in which it is also named.

The family accused Massachusetts of “completely fabricating” some accusations “out of whole cloth”, relying on allegations “rife with mischaracterizations and factual inaccuracies” and failing to show how any of the individuals being sued had broken the law.

“It’s hard to justify the inaccuracies. You’re entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts,” said an attorney for the members of the Sackler family sued in the Massachusetts civil case.

The Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, sued Purdue and several other pharmaceutical companies last year and also named the eight Sacklers. They face a host of other investigations.

 

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The Sackler Family and Lawsuits – What Did it Take to Profit from Addiction?

Massive lawsuit says Sackler family broke laws to profit from opioids

A group made up of more than 500 cities, counties and Native American tribes across the United States has filed a massive lawsuit accusing members of the Sackler family, who own the maker of the opioid painkiller OxyContin, of helping to create “the worst drug crisis in American history”.

The lawsuit represents communities in 26 states and eight tribes and accuses Sackler family members of knowingly breaking laws in order to enrich themselves to the tune of billions of dollars, while hundreds of thousands of Americans died.

“Eight people in a single family made the choices that caused much of the opioid epidemic,” the lawsuit, filed earlier this week in federal court in the southern district of New York, states.

The same eight members of the family had recently been added to a small number of lawsuits that are underway against a string of opioid-makers, including the Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company the Sacklers wholly own, Purdue Pharma, but they have not been sued as individuals on anything like this scale before.

“This nation is facing an unprecedented opioid addiction epidemic that was initiated and perpetuated by the Sackler defendants for their own financial gain, to the detriment of each of the plaintiffs and their residents. The ‘Sackler defendants’ include Richard Sackler, Beverly Sackler, David Sackler, Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, Jonathan Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Mortimer DA Sackler, and Theresa Sackler,” this week’s lawsuit states.

The eight are the most high-profile members of a family which has long been known for prolific philanthropy to famous arts and education institutions, including the Metropolitan and Guggenheim museums in New York, which have faced fierce recent protests against the taking of Sackler money. Other institutions include Columbia, Yale, MIT, Tufts and other US universities, and, in the UK, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Serpentine Gallery, Glasgow University and other recipients.

 

When Organizations Stop Accepting Donations from the Ethically Challenged They Lose Power – Sackler Family

Tate art galleries shun Sackler money over opioid crisis

Maria Balshaw

Another of Britain’s prestigious art institutions has decided to shun donations from the US Sackler family.

The Tate’s board of trustees said it would decline further donations, which comes after the withdrawal of a £1m National Portrait Gallery grant.

The Sackler family is facing legal action over its production of opioid drugs, which are linked to deaths.

Given these circumstances, it would not be right to seek or accept further donations, the Tate said.

The BBC’s arts editor, Will Gompertz, said the Tate’s move was “a significant moment in this ongoing story”.

“It makes it very difficult for any other arts organisation to accept Sackler money,” he said. “It also implicitly puts pressure on recent recipients of its donations. “

Pressure has been building on institutions to reject support from the Sackler fortune. The family owns Purdue Pharma, seller of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, which has earned billions of dollars for the company.

Purdue faces claims it misled regulators over the dangers of Oxycontin, held responsible for helping to fuel the US opioid crisis which has led to thousands of deaths.

The Sackler family has “vigorously denied” the allegations against it.

The Tate has received about £4m from Sackler family trusts over several years, including £1m in 2008 and £1m in 2015, which went towards funding the new Tate Modern building.

‘Reputational issues’

But the institution said in a statement: “The Sackler family has given generously to Tate in the past, as they have to a large number of UK arts institutions.

“We do not intend to remove references to this historic philanthropy. However, in the present circumstances we do not think it right to seek or accept further donations from the Sacklers.”

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Creating the Poison and the Antidote and Capitalizing on Both – Purdue Phama, The Sackler Family, Oxycontin and Project Tango

Protestors leave pill bottles outside the headquarters of Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

OxyContin Maker Explored Expansion Into “Attractive” Anti-Addiction Market

 

Secret portions of a lawsuit allege that Purdue Pharma, controlled by the Sackler family, considered capitalizing on the addiction treatment boom — while going to extreme lengths to boost sales of its controversial opioid.

Not content with billions of dollars in profits from the potent painkiller OxyContin, its maker explored expanding into an “attractive market” fueled by the drug’s popularity — treatment of opioid addiction, according to previously secret passages in a court document filed by the state of Massachusetts.

In internal correspondence beginning in 2014, Purdue Pharma executives discussed how the sale of opioids and the treatment of opioid addiction are “naturally linked” and that the company should expand across “the pain and addiction spectrum,” according to redacted sections of the lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney general. A member of the billionaire Sackler family, which founded and controls the privately held company, joined in those discussions and urged staff in an email to give “immediate attention” to this business opportunity, the complaint alleges.

ProPublica reviewed the scores of redacted paragraphs in Massachusetts’ 274-page civil complaint against Purdue, eight Sackler family members, company directors and current and former executives, which alleges that they created the opioid epidemic through illegal deceit. These passages remain blacked out at the company’s request after the rest of the complaint was made public on Jan. 15. A Massachusetts Superior Court judge on Monday ordered that the entire document be released, but the judge gave Purdue until Friday to seek a further stay of the ruling.

The sections of the complaint already made public contend that the Sacklers pushed for higher doses of OxyContin, guided efforts to mislead doctors and the public about the drug’s addictive capacity, and blamed misuse on patients.

Citing extensive emails and internal company documents, the redacted sections allege that Purdue and the Sackler family went to extreme lengths to boost OxyContin sales and burnish the drug’s reputation in the face of increased regulation and growing public awareness of its addictive nature. Concerns about doctors improperly prescribing the drug, and patients becoming addicted, were swept aside in an aggressive effort to drive OxyContin sales ever higher, the complaint alleges.

Among the allegations: Purdue paid two executives convicted of fraudulently marketing OxyContin millions of dollars to assure their loyalty, concealed information about doctors suspected of inappropriately prescribing the opioid, and was advised by global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. on strategies to boost the drug’s sales and burnish its image, including how to “counter the emotional messages” of mothers whose children overdosed. Since 2007, the Sackler family has received more than $4 billion in payouts from Purdue, according to a redacted paragraph in the complaint.

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