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How the Sackler Family Shifted Billions From Opioids to Trusts

  • Purdue disbursed $10.3 billion of cash payments over a decade
  • Sacklers and drugmaker face about 2,700 lawsuits over opioids

Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

The money began to flow a decade ago, just as the U.S. government cracked down on Purdue Pharma.

Billions of dollars went to the company’s founding family, the Sacklers, from the drugmaker, whose blockbuster painkiller OxyContin helped fuel the nation’s opioid crisis.

In one instance, $200 million passed through three Purdue affiliates before reaching partnerships linked to the heirs of the company’s co-founders. In all, $10.3 billion of cash payments were made from 2008 through 2017, according to a forensic audit filed as part of Purdue’s bankruptcy.