Advertisement

Even money managers no longer want OxyContin-tainted Sackler cash

The billionaire family owns Purdue Pharma, maker of the pain medication which has sowed misery across the United States because of the opioid crisis.

Exterior view of the Arthur M. Sackler gallery in Washington, DC.
CREDIT: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Exterior view of the Arthur M. Sackler gallery in Washington, DC. CREDIT: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

It would seem that money from the billionaire Sackler family is no longer in as much demand as it once was.

One of America’s most famous philanthropic families, the Sacklers have sprinkled their largesse at museums and cultural institutions around the world, and their billions have padded the coffers at top-flight investment institutions.

But Sackler wealth increasingly has come to be seen as tainted. The family owns of Purdue Pharma, the company perhaps best known for producing OxyContin, the drug at the center of the opioid abuse scourge that has devastated huge swaths of the country.

In recent weeks, the Sacklers and their mountains of money have come to be seen as pariahs. News reports said last week that Sackler money has even been expelled from hedge fund Hildene Capital Management, an investment firm managing about $10 billion in assets.

Advertisement

Hildene hedge fund manager Brett Jefferson told the Wall Street Journal that he severed ties with the company after “an opioid-related tragedy affected someone with a personal relationship to me and other members of Hildene.”

He added that “the weight on my conscience led me to terminate the relationship.” 

The New York Times reported earlier this year that more than 200,000 people have died from overdoses linked to prescription opioids in the United States since OxyContin came onto the market in 1996. Consequently, the daily noted, Purdue Pharma has been the target of numerous lawsuits.

Meanwhile, the Sackler family, long-established benefactors in the worlds of art and culture, has been dogged by recent protests. Their famous name is engraved on museums and galleries, which in many cases have also become staging grounds for demonstrations against Purdue and OxyContin.

New York Times reporter Colin Moynihan tweeted about one demonstration last month in the Sackler wing of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, where a  protest group going by the acronym P.A.I.N. — short for Prescription Addiction Intervention Now — rained down leaflets from the museum balcony.

Written on the flyers were mock OxyContin “prescriptions” made out to the Guggenheim by “Robert Sackler, M.D.”

CAMBRIDGE, MA - JULY 20: Photographer Nan Goldin leads a demonstration at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, MA on July 20, 2018 to protest the benefactor of the Sackler Art Museum, who was a founder of a pharmaceutical company that has made vast profits selling opioids. (Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JULY 20: Photographer Nan Goldin leads a demonstration at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, MA on July 20, 2018 to protest the benefactor of the Sackler Art Museum, who was a founder of a pharmaceutical company that has made vast profits selling opioids. (Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

 

At a protest in Cambridge, Massachusetts last July, protesters chanted and held posters aloft, demanding that Harvard University remove the Sackler name from a museum on its campus.

A petition with some 14,000 signatures has called on Harvard to remove the Sackler name from the same museum building.