NYU Drops Sackler Name From Biomedical Institute

October 26, 2020

New York University’s Langone Medical Center will remove the Sackler family name from its biomedical institute after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the pharmaceutical manufacturing company founded by the Sackler family, Purdue Pharma, would plead guilty to criminal charges in relation to its role in the opioid epidemic, the Associated Press reported.

The $8.3 billion criminal and civil settlements announced by the Justice Department last week relate to Purdue Pharma’s marketing and promotion practices in relation to Oxycontin and other prescription opioid drugs, including allegations that the company paid kickbacks to doctors, pharmacies and an electronic health records company and that it "promoted its opioid drugs to health care providers it knew were prescribing opioids for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary, and that often led to abuse and diversion." Individual members of the Sackler family separately agreed to a $225 million civil settlement.

“In view of yesterday’s U.S. Department of Justice announcement of the settlement of federal criminal charges with Purdue Pharma and the civil settlement with members of the Sackler family related to the marketing of Purdue’s opioid products, NYU Langone Health will be removing the Sackler name from its Graduate Biomedical Institute, as well as other named programs," NYU officials said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press.

Daniel S. Connolly, a lawyer for members of the Sackler family, criticized NYU's decision. "As soon as Purdue documents are released they will show the company’s history and that members of the Sackler family who served on the board of directors always acted ethically and lawfully, so it is disappointing that NYU is rushing to judgment," Connolly told the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported in 2019 that selective universities have collectively received more than $60 million in donations from the Sackler family. Tufts University removed the Sackler name from its medical campus last year.

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