As Drug Crisis Mounted, Sacklers Gave Millions to Group That Advises on Opioids
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: April 30th, 2023
For the past decade, the White House and Congress have relied on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a renowned advisory group, to help shape the federal response to the opioid crisis, whether by convening expert panels or delivering policy recommendations and reports. Yet officials with the National Academies have kept quiet about one thing: their decision to accept roughly $19 million in donations from members of the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug OxyContin that is notorious for fueling the opioid epidemic. The opioid crisis has led to hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths, spawned lawsuits and forced other institutions to publicly distance themselves from Sackler money or to acknowledge potential conflicts of interest from ties to Purdue Pharma. The National Academies has largely avoided such scrutiny as it continues to advise the government on painkillers. Institutions that more publicly examined their use of Sackler donations include Tufts University, which released a review of possible conflicts of interest related to pain research education funded by Purdue Pharma. Concerns noted in the report included a senior Purdue executive’s delivering lectures to students each semester. The World Health Organization in 2019 retracted two guidance documents on opioid policy after lawmakers aired concerns about ties to opioid makers, including a Purdue subsidiary, among report authors and funders.
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