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Jan-01-2010 16:46printcomments

Sackler Brothers Ties to Purdue Pharma and Profits

The last chapter of the OxyContin saga has not been written. Despite their assertions to the contrary, Purdue Pharma has not cleaned up their act.

Richard Sackler, co-chairman of Stamford, Connecticut based Purdue Pharma
Richard Sackler, co-chairman of Stamford, Connecticut based Purdue Pharma and adjunct professor of genetics at Rockefeller University.

(ASHEVILLE, N.C. ) - An attorney in Texas by the name of Kay L. Van Wey posted an article "Of Money and Mummies"[1] on her blog recently.

Marianne Skolek

Ms. Van Wey has become very "educated" on the marketing tactics of Purdue Pharma in pushing OxyContin in an effort to increase their revenue[2].

This is the same Purdue Pharma who in 2009 marketed for something called "Pregnancy Pain" and the "Undertreatment of Pain in Newborns"[3].

I have long wondered how the illustrious Sackler Brothers (physicians) who founded Purdue Pharma have escaped any criminal action against them and, in fact, questioned the Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate when I testified in 2007 against Purdue Pharma by saying:

"I want to know why the Sackler family has not been held accountable for their involvement with Purdue Pharma and the mass marketing of OxyContin."

Below are some of the "highpoints" Ms. Van Wey covered so eloquently in her article.

From: "Of Money and Mummies"

I recently visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There, you will find the Sackler Wing which contains treasures from the age of the Egyptian pharaohs. You will also find Arthur M. Sackler galleries at the Smithsonian Institute, Harvard and Beijing University. Many people do not know the Sackler name apart from their association with these lofty cultural institutions.

"Self Portrait in Hell" - the Sackler Wing

Arthur M. Sackler has been referred to as a marketing genius and the godfather of the modern-day drug advertising industry. He developed drug marketing techniques such as: direct to consumer advertising , sponsoring luxurious all expense paid medical education courses for doctors, glamorizing drugs as a quick fixes, and paying for "scientific" studies backing the need for and/or efficacy of the particular drug being studied.

Arthur Sackler, who was already rich, made a fortune marketing and selling Librium and Valium. Later, younger brothers Mortimer and Raymond joined Arthur in acquiring a little known drug company called the Purdue Frederick Company. Arthur died in 1987 at the age of 73. In 1996 the family owned company, now known as Purdue Pharma introduced its new blockbuster drug, OxyContin.

OxyContin is a very powerful, long acting narcotic which should only be prescribed for serious pain. Purdue Pharma recognized even before the drug was marketed that they would face stiff resistance from doctors who were concerned about the potential for OxyContin to be abused by patients or cause addiction.

Taking a chapter from brother Arthur's drug marketing playbook, Mortimer and Raymond embarked on the most aggressive marketing campaign ever undertaken by a pharmaceutical company for a narcotic painkiller.

Purdue Pharma marketed OxyContin to doctors like general practitioners, who often had little training in the treatment of serious pain or in recognizing signs of drug abuse in patients.

One of their techniques was to fly physicians in to conferences about the "inadequate treatment of pain" and the need for doctors to aggressively prescribe narcotics like OxyContin to their patients.

The last chapter of the OxyContin saga has not been written. Despite their assertions to the contrary, Purdue Pharma has not cleaned up their act. Read between the lines on Partners Against Pain and you'll see some of Arthur's old tricks still being used.

There is much more to be written about Purdue Pharma and their dirty and deadly deeds. However, I was just so struck by seeing the Sackler name associated with such a venerable institution as the Metropolitan Museum of Art that I thought you should know what this family did to deserve having a wing of a famous art museum named after them.

I discovered that Mortimer Sackler even has a rose named after him -- How appropriate that Mortimer Sackler should have a rose named after him in the color pink -- pink designating death.

Richard Sackler, co-chairman of Stamford, Connecticut based Purdue Pharma and adjunct professor of genetics at Rockefeller University was quoted as saying his father raised he and his brother Jon to believe that philanthropy is an important part of how "we should fill our days".

I'm sure the scores of parents who have lost their children to OxyContin in death and addiction don't agree with philanthropy filling the Sacklers days.

May the Sacklers know as they attend ribbon cuttings and fund art museums and exhibits all over the world that they are responsible for a modern day Holocaust of death and addiction throughout the U.S. and Canada by their part in the criminal marketing of OxyContin. Gives new meaning to the words "never again."

Richard, as a physician took the Hippocratic Oath -- as did the other Sackler physicians. Two lines of this Oath should haunt the Sacklers, they are:

If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I came across Richard's name in Facebook not too long ago. Funny having billions of dollars and being kept so busy being a philanthropist and Richard still wants to make social connections. So I connected with him. In a short time, I received the below response:

Richard sent you a message.

Subject: Facebook

"Do we know each other? Pardon that I don't recognize your name."

I responded with a copy of my testimony against Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers in front of the U.S. Senate. I don't believe Richard participates in Facebook anymore.


[1] Pill Mill Monitor: Of Money and Mummies

[2] Purdue Pharma press release on court conviction

[3] Losing a Loved One to Hillybilly Heroin - OxyContin - Marianne Skolek Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's who pled guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 7-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
You can send Marianne an email at:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Clemantine July 2, 2017 9:05 am (Pacific time)

The Purdue Pharma company is currently acting totally contrary to how other ethical pharmaceutical manufacturers. Arthur Sackler came from Hoffmann-La Roche and most of the senior executives came from other ethical companies such as Pfizer, Merck & J&J. Purdue is the only company who requires low income patient assistance program applicants to spend down their assets before they can receive free drug. Every other ethical company, including Roche only require proof of income at 200-400% of the federal poverty level. None require assets!the people running the day-to-day operations don't give a damn about patients I need.

Darren L McCauley July 15, 2015 2:06 am (Pacific time)

Heard there was a brain scanner machine coming out that can tell if and where a patient is in pain?

j January 27, 2013 9:55 am (Pacific time)

What about the patients truly in need of this medication? If it weren't for the flakes, real patients might have relief

big boss March 30, 2011 5:21 pm (Pacific time)

I used to work in IT at Purdue Pharma, Sackler is an ass and has no respect for his workers.

Jeff Kaye~ January 3, 2010 7:57 am (Pacific time)

Interesting history of elder Sackler brother's seemingly philanthropic generosity. His younger brothers evidently have devolved to pure profiteering, at the expense of thousands of shattered American and Canadian families' lives due to the heroin-like effects of their legally sold poison; Oxycontin. This stuff needs to trade places with Cannabis in the CSA's Schedule I. It has wrought havoc on our society, yet is scarcely mentioned in the mainstream media. MSM persists in spewing propaganda as "fair and impartial" side of cannabis debate, which is increasingly carefully crafted pack of lies. Keep after 'em, Marianne...the good fight is hard, but must be fought. The lesson is grudgingly learned, yet must be taught. Our weapons - our keyboards, punch holes in the dam of lies blocking our eyes from seeing the ties to politicians. Richard knows you now, and is cringing from the daylight baring his corrupted soul. The truth hurts only the wicked; it heals the wounds they've left in the bodies and minds of innocents with innocence lost but not forgotten.

Josh A. January 1, 2010 5:19 pm (Pacific time)

Just another example of pharma tramping nature... when will it end? the money is bound to run dry. The mass of society is bound to catch up to the lesser of society in real facts. This is not left or right, people. THIS IS PEOPLE. I am glad to be young and able to carry on my favorite elder's ideal's which are to me, the ideals of American Justice. The Justice by which all other justices are measured. The part-time failings of the government do not concern me... I have much more life to live.

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