00:08 GMT +316 October 2019
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    OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.

    US' Largest Museum Distances Itself From Donors Implicated in Opioid Crisis

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    The US is facing an epidemic of deadly overdoses caused by opioids, with close to half of the deaths believed to be caused by over-the-counter pain medications, including OxyContin, made by Purdue Pharma.

    New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is reviewing its donation policies amid reports that members of the Sackler family, which have supported the museum with donations for decades, are personally implicated in the OxyContin scandal, Met president Daniel H. Weiss told the Daily Caller.

    "The Sackler family has been connected with The Met for more than a half century. The family is a large extended group and their support of The Met began decades before the opioid crisis. The Met is currently engaging in a further review of our detailed gift acceptance policies, and we will have more to report in due course," Weiss said.

    Eight members of the Sackler family, one of the wealthiest in the United States, have been implicated in charges by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who accused them and nine Purdue Pharma executives of purposely deceiving patients and doctors regarding the risks associated with the popular but potentially deadly pain medication.

    Between 2013 and 2015, the Sackers gave $180,000 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, $300,000 to the Guggenheim Foundation, and $20 million to the DIA Art Foundation, a New York-based non-profit supporting the creation and preservation of art. The contributions have ensured the family was been memorialised at the museums, with The Met opening a Sackler Wing, and the Guggenheim Museum creating the Sackler Centre for Arts Education.

    Purdue Pharma has enjoyed a staggering $35 billion in revenue from OxyContin since its introduction in 1995. Some 49,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2017, with OxyContin, along with other over-the-counter painkillers believed to be responsible for nearly half of them.

    Late last year, the state of Florida filed a lawsuit against Walgreens and CVS over their alleged contributions to the opioid crisis by making the drugs easily available. Earlier, New York State sued Purdue Pharma and its affiliates, accusing the company of deliberately deceiving doctors and patients about the risks associated with its opioid products. The company has faced over 1,000 lawsuits in connection with OxyContin.

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    Tags:
    donations, OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sackler family, New York City, United States
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