Britain’s Portrait Gallery declines donation from Sackler opioid manufacturer family

Britain’s National Portrait Gallery says it won’t move ahead with a £1 million pound ($1.76 million Cdn) donation from the charitable arm of a family embroiled in the U.S. opioid crisis.

The gallery and the Sackler Trust issued a joint statement saying the gift for the museum’s Inspiring People project won’t proceed.

The trust is run by the Sackler family, members of which own Purdue Pharma, which makes prescription painkiller OxyContin.

The Sackler name adorns walls at some of the world’s top museums and universities, including at the Guggenheim, Harvard and, seen here, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. But the family’s ties to the powerful painkiller OxyContin and the drug’s role in the deadly opioid crisis are bringing a new kind of attention to the Sacklers and their philanthropic legacy. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

The trust says “recent reporting of allegations made against Sackler family members may cause this new donation to deflect the National Portrait Gallery from its important work.”

It adds that “allegations against the family are vigorously denied.”

Purdue has been criticized for downplaying the addictiveness of OxyContin. The company says its products were approved by regulators and prescribed by doctors.

Purdue Pharma has been criticized for downplaying the addictiveness of OxyContin. (Douglas Healey/Associated Press)

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