Yale medical school has accepted countless gifts, funding from family with ties to Purdue Pharma


New Haven, Conn.-based Yale School of Medicine has reportedly accepted numerous gifts and donations from members of a prominent family that partially owns Purdue Pharma, one of the pharmaceutical companies some people believe contributed to the opioid crisis in the U.S. through its release of the narcotic OxyContin during the mid-nineties, according to the Yale Daily News.

The Sackler family's combined $13 billion fortune is largely a product of their stake in Purdue Pharma, the report states. Through their fortune, the family has funded at least two endowed professorships at the medical school, as well as the Yale University Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences. The family has also donated funding to the medical school for the establishment of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Visiting Professor/Lecturer at the School of Medicine.

Richard S. Sackler, former co-chairman and president of Purdue Pharma, has also served as a member of the medical school's dean's council and the Yale Cancer Center director's advisory board since July 2014, according to the report.

"These are gifts that different family members made as individual family gifts. These were not gifts from the company — these were individual family gifts, so in that sense, these individuals have wealth that they gave to us, so it's no more complicated than that when they made these gifts a number of years ago," said Yale University Vice President for Development Joan O'Neill.

According to a university representative, once a fund or program is named, the university is contractually and ethically bound to the terms of the gift agreement. Renaming or altering the funds' use must be approved by the donor, the report states.

In 1995, Purdue Pharma released the drug OxyContin and marketed it as a remedy for short-term and long-term pain. Abuse of the drug has contributed to an estimated 10,000 deaths per year, according to the report.

President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency last month.                                

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