Learning With: ‘Purdue Pharma and Sacklers Reach $270 Million Settlement in Opioid Lawsuit’

Learning With: ‘Purdue Pharma and Sacklers Reach $270 Million Settlement in Opioid Lawsuit’

3. Why has Purdue Pharma been painted as the arch-villain of the opioid disaster, according to the article? What evidence is there that Purdue Pharma misled doctors and the public about the dangers of OxyContin?

4. How has the opioid crisis affected Oklahoma? Which example cited in the article do you find most significant?

5. Why is Purdue Pharma considering declaring bankruptcy? How many other lawsuits does the company face?

6. Where will the lawsuit settlement money be disbursed? How will the money help to address opioid addiction?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

— What is your reaction to the article? Do you think the makers of OxyContin are responsible for the use and misuse of their product? Who do you think is responsible for the opioid epidemic? Doctors? Advertisers? Pharmacies? Distributors? The Food and Drug Administration? Consumers? How would you assign responsibility?

— What connections do you see between the Purdue Pharma settlement and other lawsuits against companies like gun manufacturers and cigarette makers? Are there any dangers in allowing lawsuits against companies, particularly pharmaceutical companies, for the products they make?

— How do we balance the medicinal benefits of painkillers with their highly addictive nature and with the death and devastation caused by their misuse and abuse? For example, the Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand recently proposed legislation to limit the supply of initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain to seven days, but the proposal was quickly criticized as infringing upon doctors’ ability to make case-by-case medical decisions.

— In a related article, “Museums Cut Ties With Sacklers as Outrage Over Opioid Crisis Grows,” Alex Marshall writes:

In a remarkable rebuke to one of the world’s most prominent philanthropic dynasties, the prestigious Tate museums in London and the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York, where a Sackler sat on the board for many years, decided in the last week that they would no longer accept gifts from their longtime Sackler benefactors. Britain’s National Portrait Gallery announced it had jointly decided with the Sackler Trust to cancel a planned $1.3 million donation, and an article in The Art Newspaper disclosed that a museum in South London had returned a family donation last year.

The Tate’s statement noted the family’s “historic philanthropy,” then added: “However, in the present circumstances we do not think it right to seek or accept further donations from the Sacklers.”

What do you think of the decision by several museums to no longer accept donations from the Sackler family? Do you think other museums and other institutions doing business with the Sackler family should do so as well?