DemLabs blog

OxyContin blood money buys political money

"Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, under scrutiny for role in opioid crisis, are big political spenders.

As the opioid crisis continues to ravage the country killing more than 130 people per day in the U.S., the makers of the addictive opioid OxyContin face tightening legal challenges. The company, Purdue Pharma, has been run by the wealthy and influential Sackler family for generations. In 2016, the Sacklers were listed by Forbes as the 19th richest family in America with a $13 billion net worth. Both Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler clan have been active in the political realm." - Open Secrets

- How did the Sackler-owned Purdue Pharma have so much political influence?
- How is Purdue Pharma connected to Rudy Guiliani and Luther Strange?
- How much did Purdue donate to the Republican Attorney Generals Association (RAGA)?
- What did McKinsey Consulting advise the Purdue Pharma to sell more opioids?
- How did activists push to have the Sackler name dropped by museums?
- What is the proposed settlement by which the Sacklers go free and keep most of their money?

This OxyContin Relationship Map follows the blood money to show how the super-rich buy political influence to make even more money. DemLabs created this relationship map with Kumu, a free app to show the connections between the individuals and organizations in the opioid crisis.

OxyContin from Purdue Pharma owned by the Sacklers uses blood money to buy political influence and bend the rules.

Sackler donations to Republicans

"Both Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler clan have been active in the political realm. The company also employed the Purdue Pharma PAC to contribute to federal candidates, almost solely Republican ones. Overall, the family has favored Republican and conservative causes which have received 52 percent of the family’s total contributions. Some family members mostly favor Republicans, while others support Democrats. The overall top recipient of the 12 family members’ contributions was the Republican National Committee (RNC) with $252,700.Open Secrets

"Purdue has been generous in recent years to RAGA, contributing more than $680,000 to its campaign operation from 2014 through 2018. The company also gave to the organization's Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Attorneys General Association, over the same five-year period, but far less: about $210,000." - Alabama

"The nation's Republican state attorneys general have, for the most part, lined up in support of a tentative multibillion-dollar settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, while their Democratic counterparts have mostly come out against it, decrying it as woefully inadequate." - ABC News

OxyContin blood money bought political influence and bent rules

McKinsey & Co. advised Purdue Pharma

"McKinsey & Co. has reached a whopping $573 million settlement over its role in propelling opioid sales. The consulting honcho is notorious for its work in advising OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and other drug manufacturers to market opioid painkillers."- Human Events

From 2009 until at least 2014, McKinsey helped Purdue shape its message for selling OxyContin and overcoming concerns about addiction and overdoses, according to redacted passages. The consultant told Purdue in a slide presentation that it could increase prescriptions by convincing doctors that opioids provide “freedom” and “peace of mind” and give patients “the best possible chance to live a full and active life.”

In a 2013 report, McKinsey recommended directing sales representatives to focus on the most prolific opioid prescribers because that group writes “25 times as many OxyContin scripts” as less prolific prescribers. Because prescription rates rose in tandem with visits from sales reps to doctors, McKinsey recommended increasing each salesperson’s quota from 1,400 visits a year to closer to 1,700. McKinsey estimated that targeting the most frequent prescribers could boost OxyContin sales by hundreds of millions of dollars. The quotas rose, as did total visits, the complaint states. Purdue said it planned to decrease visits relating to opioid products, and any increase was due to promoting a laxative." - ProPublica

Follow the blood money that bought pricey consultants and political influence. Use relationship maps to explain how super-rich Americans thrive while the poor die.

TakeAway: How did the opioid epidemic kill so many Americans? Follow the blood money that bought pricey consultants and political influence. Use relationship maps to show how super-rich Americans thrive while the poor die.


Image credit: Art Newspaper

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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.