The Sackler Family: A Secretive Billion Dollar Opioid Empire

2019, Drugs  -   6 Comments
8.08
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Ratings: 8.08/10 from 26 users.

Opioid addiction is the leading public health crisis facing the United States today, and it represents the leading cause of death among people under the age of 50. While the cause is multi-faceted, there are powerful and influential forces at work that have propelled it to the status of an epidemic. Enter the Sackler family, the owners of the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma which produces OxyContin. This hard-hitting documentary exposes their culpability in perpetuating this crisis.

The family has enjoyed nearly immeasurable windfalls of profits from pain. When a patient suffered a traumatic injury or a debilitating condition that resulted in chronic pain, medications like OxyContin and its substitutes promised to enable a more comfortable and productive quality of life. Obscured from view were the grave risks that accompanied the use of these opioid medications. Widespread addiction soon took hold while overdoses and fatalities started to rise. For many of these users, OxyContin served as a legally prescribed gateway drug. When they were no longer able to procure the expensive medication, they would often turn to cheaper alternatives like heroin.

Big Pharma - in particular, the Sackler clan - has been the most obvious benefactor from all of this human despair and decay. They set the stage by employing armies of sales reps, recruiting physician co-conspirators, waging a public campaign of misinformation, and lobbying for more favorable regulations in Washington, DC.

The filmmakers provide a brief, but comprehensive primer on the formation of the Sackler enterprise, the rise of their blockbuster opioid product, and their tactics for legitimizing its abuse. The film also outlines the Sacklers’ attempts to maintain a pleasing public face even as their company has shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars in individual lawsuits. Today, the company is facing even more significant lawsuits from nearly every state in the U.S.

The Sackler Family: A Secretive Billion Dollar Opioid Empire tells an infuriating tale. It shows how the callous decisions made in the most regal of executive boardrooms can contribute to the destruction of ordinary lives and societal norms.

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6 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Tim

    Living in Metro Vancouver since the early 1980's, I can attest to what opioid crisis has done here. Cu-do's to your high production value of your documentary. Though I'm baffled by the narrator sounding so shocked about the Sacklers putting "profit before people". It's "American style" capitalism at it's finest or worst; (depending on) whether you're selling drugs or in need of drugs. In the early 1980's, when under the influence of economist Milton Friedman, the belief became that the corporate managers’ sole responsibility was to maximise returns for shareholders. That single-minded devotion to stockholders has been cited as a factor in the stagnation of U.S. wages.

  2. Pat Martin

    A bartender can be sued for failing to cut someone off of alcohol before a lethal car accident. A marijuana grower can suffer for the rest of their life for making MJ available to someone who is in need of its help with pain and side effects from a disease, yet a family such as this reaps profits and hires lawyers to 'fix' their culpability. May they rot in Hell.

  3. Mike

    This is a very badass documentary good info to pass along to everyone. Especially the next generation.

  4. Ralph Hollister

    This documentary will surely infuriate many, but will likely inspire others. When there's big money to be made by unscrupulous people, you can bet it will happen. The ultimate cause of all these problems is govt. involvement in what people consume, that's what creates the business opportunities.

    1. Minh Duong

      With regards to the US government's involvement (US court system more precisely), I don't think that it is their involvement in what people consume. Rather, that it has essentially ruled that profitmaking (Maximizing shareholder's profit) is a company's highest priority. That is , profitmaking considerations are higher than any moral or ethical consideration a company may face. This incentivizes greed and profiteering over compassion or empathy to a company's clients or community; short term thinking over long term planning and values pychopathic ruthlessness over simply being competitive.

  5. Robert Crosbie

    Great Documentary, addiction touches every family directly or indirectly. In the fullness of time maybe the Sacklers will be held to account but I won't hold my breath.