A new book lifts back the veil on the history of the Sackler family, the people who owned and invested heavily in the marketing and manufacturing of Oxycontin. “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty” goes into the history of the family, the source of their wealth, and their downfall as they settled lawsuits that drove the out of business.
OxyContin, the addictive painkiller known to be more powerful than morphine, is considered to be a driving force of the opioid crisis. In fact, Purdue Pharma recently settled with the government after facing hundreds of lawsuits over their practices. Doctors were said to be bribed, marketed to heavily, and even had salespeople downplay the possibilities of side effects, withdrawal, or addiction.
About the Sacklers: Oxycontin Millionaires
The Sackler family is one of the richest in America, and all of their monetary roots are tied to pharmaceuticals.
Decades before Oxycontin was pushed by their company, Dr. Arthur Sackler created his company to create medication that helped people with mental illness. In the 1960’s he was considered a pharmaceutical great that created drugs like tranquilizers to help people who were in mental institutions cope with their symptoms.
Interestingly, Dr. Sackler also employed many of the same marketing tactics to sell his tranquilizers as his descendants did to sell Oxycontin, according to NPR.
A Look Into The Past, And Purdue Pharma’s Crimes
Prior to this book, the source of the Sackler family’s wealth was considered to be secret. It’s interesting to learn more about the family’s long history in the pharmaceutical industry.
The author, Patrick Radden Keefe, told NPR of his book: “It’s a family saga. It’s a story about the opioid crisis and big pharma, but it’s also a crime story. This is a crime story. This is a company that pled guilty to federal charges in 2007 and then again pled guilty to new charges, but similar kind of claims of fraud about the fraudulent marketing of drugs, in 2020, just a few months ago.”
Hopefully, by seeing how we got to this point, we can prevent future scrupleless pharmaceutical companies from carrying out similar criminal acts.