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New York Met museum erases Sackler name from art galleries

The museum, commonly known as the Met, had already begun in 2019 to refuse funding from the family, now infamous for their role in deepening the US opioid crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans

By: Deutsche Welle | New York |
December 10, 2021 12:00:08 pm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art Sackler family, Metropolitan Museum of Art New YorkThe Sackler family name hung over the Met's famed Egyptian wing. (NDZ/STAR MAX/picture alliance)

The Sackler family of the now-defunct Purdue Pharma will have their name removed from the seven exhibition halls in which it stands, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced on Thursday.

The museum, commonly known as the Met, had already begun in 2019 to refuse funding from the family, now infamous for their role in deepening the US opioid crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

“We believe this to be in the best interest of the museum and the important mission that it serves,” the family said in a joint statement with the Met.

London’s Tate Museum and National Gallery, Paris’s Louvre, Berlin’s Jewish Museum and New York’s Guggenheim have already severed their relationships with the family.

Purdue Pharma dissolved

The Sacklers are the descendants of brothers Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, who took over control of Purdue Pharma in 1962. The company has become infamous for producing highly addictive opioid drugs OxyContin and fentanyl.

According to court documents, family members, may of whom served in executive and board positions, continued to have their sales representatives push the drugs and pressure doctors long after they knew their adverse effects.

Purdue Pharma was dissolved in September after a judge allowed a controversial legal bid by the Sackler family that will see them pay $4.5 billion (nearly €4 billion), a fraction of their wealth, to victims and institutions in exchange for immunity from future opioid lawsuits.

2021 saw a huge spike in US overdose deaths, with researchers believing the coronavirus pandemic played a large role in a 30% increase over 2019.

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