The Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma, the developer of opioid OxyContin, donated $60 million to various prestigious universities around the world including Yale, according to a report published this week.
An Associated Press report published this week revealed that the Sackler family, which runs Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, donated $60 million to several universities since 2013 alone.
Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy in September as part of an effort to finalize a multi-billion-dollar settlement that would resolve thousands of lawsuits from those affected by OxyContin-related addiction. Analysts estimate that opioids have caused 400,000 deaths since 1999.
Just when efforts to impose consequences on the Sackler family for their role in the opioid crisis were kicking off, universities were still accepting donations from Sackler foundations. In 2018, nine universities accepted donations from foundations ran by the Sackler family. Yale University was amongst the universities that accepted donations from Sackler foundations in 2018.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny of Brandeis University has become a leading critic of opioid manufacturers. He told the Associated Press that universities should return any donations that they received from the Sackler family. “Money from the Sacklers should be understood as blood money,” Kolodny said. “Universities shouldn’t take it, and universities that have taken it should give it back.”
Representatives at Cornell, Yale and the California Institute of Technology, all of which received donations totaling more than one million from the Sackler family, told the Associated Press that they plan to reject any future donations from the family or their foundations.
Of the 20 universities that received donations greater than one million, not one said that they would return money they received from Sackler foundations.
Breitbart News reported in September that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received large donations from Jeffrey Epstein. MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito resigned in a response to a New Yorker report that detailed the institution’s willingness to accept donations from the convicted sex offender.