Photo Credit: Dominic Milton Trott

Tel Aviv University and the Sackler family on Wednesday issued a joint statement saying they agreed to remove the name Sackler from the TAU Medical School.

As part of their settlement in US Federal Court, the Sackler family was made to listen to stories of individuals impacted by the drug they manufactured and distributed OxyContin and get their name removed from buildings and scholarships.


The joint statement was a whole lot kinder: “For the last 50 years, the School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University has proudly borne the Sackler family name. In a continuing desire and commitment to assist the university and the school to raise funds for medical research, the Sackler family has kindly agreed to remove their name from the Department of Medicine. With this move, they will enable the university to offer naming opportunities for the Department of Medicine and School of Medicine to new donors. Tel Aviv University gratefully acknowledges the multi-decade contributions of the Sackler family to the development of the Faculty of Medicine into an Israeli and world leader in the health field.”

In 2019, 500 counties, cities, and Native American tribes launched a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, naming eight Sackler family members: Richard, Jonathan, Mortimer, Kathe, David, Beverly, and Theresa Sackler as well as Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, for the role of their company, Purdue Pharma, in the opioid crisis.

An October 4, 2020, New Yorker article reported the Sackler family’s company “was the first to set out, in the nineteen-nineties, to persuade the American medical establishment that strong opioids should be much more widely prescribed—and that physicians’ longstanding fears about the addictive nature of such drugs were overblown.”

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Utah also brought suits against the family, which also faced 1,600 federal cases.

A group of states agreed to settle in a bankruptcy court filing on July 7, 2021. The settlement stated that although Purdue would admit no wrongdoings, the Sackler family would agree never to produce opioids again and pay billions in damages toward a charitable fund.

The Sacklers agreed to pay $4.5 billion over nine years, with most of that money going to fund addiction treatment, but the bankruptcy judge later accused the Sacklers of moving money to offshore accounts and he said he wished the settlement had been higher.

On May 31, an appeals court ruled that the Sackler family would receive full immunity from civil suits, in exchange for a $6 billion settlement.

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