The Sacklers are one of the wealthiest families in the US, with an estimated fortune of R190 billion, but they may not be for much longer.
Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company owned by members of the Sackler family, has filed for bankruptcy, the Washington Post reported Sunday evening.
The Chapter 11 filing is part of a tentative settlement agreement in thousands of lawsuits over what accusers say is misleading marketing of Purdue Pharma’s controversial painkiller, OxyContin, that’s been partly responsible for the US opioid crisis, The New York Times reported on September 11. The settlement requires the owners of Purdue Pharma, members of the Sackler family, to pay R43 billion of their own fortune in cash over the next seven years.
“Purdue Pharma continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis,” the company said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.
The source of the family’s wealth is OxyContin, the prescription painkiller that many say has fueled the US opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma has faced thousands of lawsuits over what accusers say is misleading marketing of OxyContin that contributed to opioid-related deaths.
The Sacklers are far from a tight-knit family. The Guardian described them in 2018 as “a sprawling and now feuding transatlantic dynasty.” According to a 2017 article from The New Yorker, there are 15 Sackler children in the generation following the founders of Purdue.
While some Sacklers serve as board members of Purdue Pharma, others, notably those descended from the eldest brother, Arthur M. Sackler, who died before OxyContin was invented, have distanced themselves from the company and condemned the OxyContin-based wealth, according to The Guardian.
Here’s a look at the secretive and controversial family.