Billionaire Exec Got Rich On Opioids, Now Pitches “Cure”

The company that makes OxyContin and reaps the billions of dollars in profits it generates is owned by one family. Image: Screen capture, Esquire

Billionaire pharma exec who fueled opioid crisis set to rake in millions more on treatment

| Richard Sackler has secured a patent for a drug to treat people for addiction to his own painkillers

| Salon – On Friday, the Financial Times reported that billionaire pharmaceutical tycoon Richard Sackler has secured a patent for a new drug to treat opioid addiction.

The drug, a reformulation of buprenorphine, is essentially just a milder opioid that can blunt the symptoms of withdrawal while a person is being weaned off — competing variants of which are already generating nearly $900 million in U.S. sales.

Sackler’s family also happens to own Purdue Pharma, the company that first developed OxyContin — a powerful narcotic painkiller that has been blamed for spurring the epidemic of opioid addiction that has decimated communities all across America.

In other words, Sackler made millions off of sales of a drug that caused a massive public health crisis — and now he stands to make millions more by selling the public a solution.

Purdue, one of several drug companies that made a decades-long push for liberal prescription of opioids, is currently facing a mountain of lawsuits.

Prosecutors in several states allege Purdue was aware of the risk of addiction and overdose, but deceived doctors and patients and downplayed the risks to increase their sales — a charge the company denies.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey directly names several members of the Sackler family as defendants.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse estimates that up to 12 percent of patients prescribed an opioid develop an abuse disorder, and as many as 6 percent eventually switch to heroin. More than 115 people a day are now killed by opioid overdoses.

Rural areas have been especially impacted, with an astonishing 74 percent of farmers reporting they or someone they know is suffering from opioid addiction. Read more at Salon. Coverage continues below the break. 


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Esquire – The newly installed Sackler Courtyard at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the most glittering places in the developed world.

Eleven thousand white porcelain tiles, inlaid like a shattered backgammon board, cover a surface the size of six tennis courts.

According to the V&A’s director, the regal setting is intended to serve as a “living room for London,” by which he presumably means a living room for Kensington, the museum’s neighborhood, which is among the world’s wealthiest.

In late June, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was summoned to consecrate the courtyard, said to be the earth’s first outdoor space made of porcelain; stepping onto the ceramic expanse, she silently mouthed, “Wow.”

The Sackler Courtyard is the latest addition to an impressive portfolio. There’s the Sackler Wing at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which houses the majestic Temple of Dendur, a sandstone shrine from ancient Egypt; additional Sackler wings at the Louvre and the Royal Academy; stand-alone Sackler museums at Harvard and Peking Universities; and named Sackler galleries at the Smithsonian, the Serpentine, and Oxford’s Ashmolean.

The Guggenheim in New York has a Sackler Center, and the American Museum of Natural History has a Sackler Educational Lab.

Members of the family, legendary in museum circles for their pursuit of naming rights, have also underwritten projects of a more modest caliber—a Sackler Staircase at Berlin’s Jewish Museum; a Sackler Escalator at the Tate Modern; a Sackler Crossing in Kew Gardens. A popular species of pink rose is named after a Sackler. So is an asteroid … Read more at Esquire. 

Who is Richard Sackler?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Born Richard Stephen Sackler, March 1945 (age 73)
  • Alma mater Columbia University New York University School of Medicine
  • Known for Former chairman and president of Purdue Pharma
  • Net worth US$13 billion (Sackler family, October 2017)
  • Spouse(s) Beth Sackler
  • Children 3
  • Parent(s) Raymond Sackler

Richard Stephen Sackler (born March 1945) is an American billionaire businessman, and a former chairman and president of Purdue Pharma, a company founded by his late father Raymond Sackler and best known as the developer of Oxycontin.

Sackler joined Purdue Pharma in 1971, as assistant to the president. He became head of R&D and head of marketing before becoming president in 1999, and co-chairman in 2003.

Sackler was in charge of the research department that developed OxyContin. As president, he approved the targeted marketing schemes to promote sales of OxyContin to doctors, pharmacists, nurses, academics, and others. Shelby Sherman, an ex-Purdue sales rep, has called these marketing schemes “graft”.

In 2015, Sackler was deposed by four lawyers in Louisville, Kentucky. The deposition concerned the development and marketing of OxyContin under the watch of him and his family, who were and are active board members of their private company, Purdue Pharma. The marketing and prescribing of OxyContin in Pike County, Kentucky, was of particular interest.

Before the case could go to trial and thus before the deposition could become a matter of public record, Purdue settled for $24 million, admitting no liability, sealing the deposition, and requiring the Kentucky prosecutors to destroy, or return to Purdue, millions of pages of internal documents obtained from the company during discovery.

The medical news website STAT then sued to unseal Richard Sackler’s deposition. A state judge ruled in its favor.

Purdue appealed, and, as of October 26, 2017, that appeal remains outstanding. The deposition cannot be made public unless the appeal is decided in favor of STAT again.