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The Sacklers: which cap fits?

(a): One of America’s great philanthropic dynasties.

(b) The initial author and a prime beneficiary of the epidemic. (the epidemic of opioid addiction. Purdue Pharma – the Sacklers’ family company – developed and agressively marketed OxyContin, which they misrepresented as a “safe” painkiller)


Both caps fit.

However, to an astonishing extent, the Sacklers have been able to  bask in public recognition of the first, whilst avoiding legal responsibility and public condemnation for the second.

Both “caps” are quotations from Patrick Radden Keefe’s “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” – a remarkable piece of investigative journalism, published in the October 30 2017 issue of The New Yorker.

One telling sentence:

If present statistics are any indication, in the time it likely took you to read this article six Americans have fatally overdosed on opioids.

But, as he notes, this is not just America’s problem:

As OxyContin spread outside the U.S., the pattern of dysfunction repeated itself: to map the geographic distribution of the drug was also to map a rash of addiction, abuse, and death. But the Sackler family has only increased its efforts abroad, and is now pushing the drug, through a Purdue-related company called Mundipharma, into Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The essay earns its considerable length. Click here to read it all.

Two more sentences:

Between 2006 and 2015, Purdue and other painkiller producers, along with their associated nonprofits, spent nearly nine hundred million dollars on lobbying and political contributions—eight times what the gun lobby spent during that period.

Forbes estimates that the Sacklers continue to receive some seven hundred million dollars a year from the family companies.



Published in opinions and journalism word power


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