The Sackler family is an American family, many of whom are known for founding and owning the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma. Purdue Pharma, and by extension some members of the family, have faced criticism and lawsuits regarding overprescription of addictive pharmaceutical drugs, including Oxycontin, and Purdue Pharma’s role in the North American opioid crisis. According to the New Yorker, Purdue Pharma played a “special role” in the opioid crisis because the company “was the first to set out, in the nineteen-nineties, to persuade the American medical establishment that strong opioids should be much more widely prescribed—and that physicians’ longstanding fears about the addictive nature of such drugs were overblown.”
In 2019, a suit was brought in the Southern District of New York, which included more than 500 counties, cities and Native American tribes. It named eight family members: Richard, Jonathan, Mortimer, Kathe, David, Beverly and Theresa Sackler as well as Ilene Sackler Lefcourt. In addition, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Utah all brought suits against the family. On the federal level, the family faced an overall bundle of 1,600 cases.
In March 2021, Purdue Pharma filed a restructuring plan to dissolve itself and establish a new company dedicated to programs designed to combat the opioid crisis, according to court documents filed on 15 March 2021. As part of the proposed plan, the Sackler family has agreed to pay an additional US$4.2 billion over the next nine years to resolve various civil claims.