The makers of OxyContin just tentatively settled 2,000 lawsuits on their role in the opioid crisis. Meet the Sacklers, who built their $13 billion fortune off the controversial prescription drug.

The Sacklers are worth an estimated $13 billion.Reuters

The Sacklers are one of the wealthiest families in the US, with an estimated fortune of $13 billion, but they may not be for much longer.

The owners of Purdue Pharma — including members of the Sackler family — have reached a tentative settlement agreement in thousands of lawsuits over what accusers say is misleading marketing of OxyContin that’s been partly responsible for the US opioid crisis, the New York Times reported September 11. The settlement requires the Sacklers to pay $3 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 controversial 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 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.


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