UPDATED 2:35 PM PT – Thursday, October 3, 2019
Elite universities across the world have been receiving millions in donations from the Sackler family. The billionaires own pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, which is responsible for making OxyContin.
A recent report from the Associated Press revealed that the Sackler family has donated more than $60 million to prestigious colleges in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Israel. These massive donations went to Ivy League schools like Brown, Yale and Cornell. U.K.’s Oxford and Israel’s Tel Aviv University have also reportedly received up to $10 million in so-called “blood money” over the past five years.
The report stated that none of the schools were planning to return the money, but Brown said it would redirect funds to causes that would help victims of the opioid crisis.
“Even if schools wanted to return money to the Sackler family, there are legal obstacles and tax problems that can arise if you try to do that,” explained AP writer Collin Binkley.
The Sackler family has been at the center of thousands of lawsuits and investigations regarding its role in the opioid crisis. They have been accused of using the crisis to boost sales.
Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy in September, allegedly to lessen the blow of several billion dollar lawsuits.
“That’s offensive to me, that we would allow a settlement that allows Purdue and the Sacklers to continue to sell oxy,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “Every day, people in this country are dying as a result of opioids.”
Several experts said it was important to consider the schools’ individual knowledge of the Sackler family before accepting donations. Despite this, many of the funds were accepted after efforts began to hold the family accountable.
Cornell and Yale said they would not accept any future donations from the family.