Elizabeth Warren is picking a fight with the billionaire family that is accused of deceptively marketing opioids like OxyContin

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, said she’d like to see an America where the billionaire Sackler family is held accountable for its role in precipitating the opioid crisis.
  • The Sackler family owns the pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma and is being sued for allegedly deceptive marketing of narcotic opioids.
  • Warren targeted the Sacklers in a Medium post laying out her $100 billion plan to fight the opioid crisis.
  • Warren said she wants an America “where when people like the Sacklers destroy millions of lives to make money, they don’t get museum wings named after them, they go to jail.”
  • But Warren has received multiple campaign donations from members of the Sackler family dating back to 2012. A spokesperson for her 2020 campaign told multiple news outlets on Wednesday that she would donate the money to charity.
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, said she’d like to see an America where the billionaire Sackler family is held accountable for its role in precipitating the opioid crisis.

The Sackler family owns the pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma and is being sued for allegedly deceptive marketing of highly-addictive narcotic opioids.

Warren targeted the Sacklers in a Medium post laying out her $100 billion plan to fight the opioid crisis – a bill she reintroduced with Rep. Elijah Cummings on Wednesday.

The senator argued that the national opioid epidemic was spurred by companies like Purdue Pharma that reaped huge profits off its drugs, which many people got addicted to.

Court filings in lawsuits brought by the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York detail how the Sacklers allegedly aggressively marketed OxyContin, a highly addictive opioid pain medication, even as the opioid epidemic exploded across the country.

“This crisis has been driven by greed, pure and simple. If you don’t believe that, just look at the Sackler family,” Warren wrote. “They’re billionaires. They own mansions around the world. Entire wings of museums in New York and London have been stamped with the family name.”

She went on, “But here’s the thing: the Sacklers made their money pushing OxyContin. Pushing it even as study after study demonstrated its addictive potential. Even as hundreds of thousands of Americans died.”

Warren said she wants an America “where when people like the Sacklers destroy millions of lives to make money, they don’t get museum wings named after them, they go to jail.”

Read more: Elizabeth Warren proposes paying for an ambitious plan to spend $100 billion fighting the opioid crisis with her new tax on the ultra-rich

But Warren has received multiple campaign donations from members of the Sackler family, including Beverly Sackler, the wife of the company’s co-founder, dating back to 2012. A spokesperson for Warren’s 2020 campaign told multiple news outlets on Wednesday that she would donate the money to a not-yet-announced charity.

A spokeswoman for the Sackler family said in a statement to INSIDER that the family “would welcome a genuine dialogue” with Warren and defended itself against her accusations.

“Beverly Sackler is well into her 90s and denigrating her personal donation, made with the best intentions, can serve no proper political purpose,” the spokeswoman said. “We would welcome a genuine dialogue with the senator that’s fact-based, as the facts clearly demonstrate that the company started by Beverly’s family has for decades been the industry leader in combatting opioid abuse while providing products essential for the treatment of serious chronic pain.”

The company has been hit with lawsuits and investigations for years. Purdue and three executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to misleading doctors, patients, and regulators concerning the addictive nature of OxyContin. The company was forced to pay out $600 million in damages.

Warren also pointed to Purdue’s plan to monetize the treatment for addiction to opioids by selling a treatment drug, Suboxone.

The Sacklers, reportedly worth $13 billion, have denied the allegations, arguing the lawsuits against them are “filled with claims that are demonstrably false and unsupportable by the actual facts.”