Purdue Pharma sign
Source: Getty

Sackler Family Is Feuding Amid Opioid Lawsuits, Net Worth Drops

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Oct. 15 2021, Published 1:25 p.m. ET

There have been allegations that OxyContin fueled the opioid epidemic in the U.S. The Sackler family is trying to put allegations of deceptive marketing to rest. The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, which makes the painkiller drug OxyContin. The OxyContin feud threatens to slash the Sackler family’s net worth and divide the family.

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Sackler Family

The Sackler family, owner of drug companies Purdue Pharma and Mundipharma.

Net worth: $11 Billion

The Sackler family is the owner of Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin painkiller drug blamed for fueling America’s opioid epidemic. The family also owns the multinational drug company Mundipharma.

In addition to Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers also own drugmaker Mundipharma. The company has a global footprint. The family got rich from OxyContin sales. The Sacklers are accused of misleading doctors and patients about the drug’s addiction risk.

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Purdue Pharma building
Source: Getty

Where does the Sackler family live?

The Sacklers are descendants of Isaac Sackler and Sophie Greenberg, Jewish immigrants who arrived in the U.S. from Galicia. The couple set up a grocery business in Brooklyn, New York City. Their three sons became doctors and went on to own Purdue Pharma.

Currently, Sackler family members can be found around the world. In the U.S., some family members live in New York, Texas, and Florida. Other members live in Britain.

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Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy settlement

The Sacklers have agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle many lawsuits related to Purdue Pharma’s sale of the controversial painkiller drug OxyContin. Also, they would give up ownership of Purdue Pharma. In exchange, family members would be shielded from future opioid lawsuits.

In addition to the Sacklers losing control of the business, the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy is expected to result in the company’s assets being taken over by a new company. The entity receiving the assets will focus on tackling opioid addiction.

Sackler family’s net worth has dropped $11 billion

The Sackler family’s fortune is estimated at $11 billion in 2021. That still makes it one of the wealthiest families in America, except the Sacklers were wealthier in the past. In 2016, the family had a net worth of $13 billion.

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Settling the opioid lawsuits could cause the family’s fortune to shrink more. In addition to giving up their investments in Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers also plan to sell Mundipharma—their other drug company. The family’s other assets would be tapped to pay for its commitments in the settlement.

The OxyContin troubles are reverberating beyond the net worth for the Sacklers. The family used its wealth from OxyContin sales to fund many philanthropic works. As the OxyContin matter weighs on the Sacklers’ reputation, some organizations that received their money are returning it or cutting ties in other ways.

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Purdue Pharma troubles make the Sackler family feud worse

All three of the Sackler brothers owned stakes in Purdue Pharma. After Arthur Sackler died, his interest in the business went to the remaining brothers, Mortimer and Raymond. One of Arthur's daughters has defended her branch of the Sackler family. She said that they didn’t profit from OxyContin sales.

There are also factions within the branch of the Sackler family that controls Purdue Pharma and got rich from OxyContin sales. Before OxyContin turned into a crisis for the family, the Sacklers squabbled over Purdue Pharma’s corporate strategy and agendas to discuss at board meetings. Now, there are divisions over a wide range of issues, including legal defense tactics and how to respond to the media.

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