History

1991: Colombian authorities cut a deal with billionaire drug lord Pablo Escobar to let him serve a prison term in a compound specially built for him, with its own soccer field and waterfall, which came to be known as La Catedral.

1995: In America, the Sacklers launch OxyContin.  Richard Sackler orders Purdue’s sales representatives to create “a blizzard of prescriptions.”  A sales rep later described Richard: “This is the dude that made it happen.”

 

2001: Ed Bisch, Barbara Van Rooyan, Lee Nuss, and Ed Vanicky form RAPP, Relatives Against Purdue Pharma.  Each lost a family member, killed by Purdue’s drugs.

 

That same year: Richard Sackler writes; “We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible.  They are the culprits and the problem.  They are reckless criminals.”

 

2002:  A friend writes to Richard Sackler: “I hate to say this, but you could become the Pablo Escobar of the new millennium.”

 

2003: Barry Meier releases Pain Killer, the first book to break the story of Purdue’s responsibility for the opioid crisis.

 

2006: Career prosecutors including Rick Mountcastle and Kirk Ogrosky recommend felony charges against Purdue executives; but political appointees at DOJ overrule them and make a deal for reduced charges.

 

2007: Purdue and three executives are sentenced in Abington, Virigina.  Bisch, Van Rooyan, Nuss, Vanicky, and other families travel to Virginia to testify and plead for jail time.  But the Court approves the DOJ deal.

 

2013: The Sacklers meet with McKinsey consultants and give the order to “turbocharge” OxyContin sales.

 

Later that year: Richard Sackler’s Google alert sends him so many stories about people harmed by OxyContin that Purdue staff arrange to replace it with a service that provides more flattering stories.

 

2014: The Sacklers consider expanding into the addiction treatment business because “pain treatment and addiction are naturally linked” and “there is an opportunity to expand our offering as an end-to-end pain provider.”

 

2015: Sam Quinones releases his book, Dreamland, about the twin business empires of a Mexican heroin cartel and Purdue Pharma.

 

2017: Patrick Radden Keefe in The New Yorker and Christopher Glazek in Esquire publish breakthrough stories exposing the Sacklers.

 

March 2018: Davis Polk begins working for Purdue.  The Sacklers control the company and its board.

 

June 2018: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sues the Sacklers.

 

August 2018: Beth Macy releases her book, Dopesick, exposing more Purdue crimes.

February 9, 2019: Nan Goldin and a team of activists create a blizzard of prescriptions of the Sacklers at the Guggenheim Museum.

 

March 2019: Purdue changes its address to White Plains, NY, where there is only one Bankruptcy Judge.

 

May 2019: U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark and Hal Rogers release a report exposing how Purdue corrupted opioid prescribing recommendations by the World Health Organization.

 

July 2019: The Louvre takes down the Sackler name.

 

August 2019: Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announces: “Connecticut demands that Purdue be broken up and shut down, and that its assets be liquidated.”
 

September 2019: New York Attorney General Letitia James announces that her office uncovered $1 billion in wire transfers by the Sacklers, including through Swiss bank accounts, suggesting that the family tried to shield wealth as it faced lawsuits over its role in the opioid crisis.

 

Days Later: Purdue files for bankruptcy in White Plains, NY, in the court of Judge Robert Drain.

 

December 2019: Tufts University strips the Sackler name from its graduate school of biomedical sciences.

 

February 2020: Netflix releases The Pharmacist, exposing more of the crimes at Purdue.

 

May 2020: Bisch, Van Rooyan, and Goldin join with Emily Walden and Cynthia Munger to form the Committee on Accountability in Purdue’s bankruptcy.

 

Summer 2020: More than 100,000 people file claims for injuries caused by the Sacklers and Purdue.

 

October 2020: Purdue admits to felonies extending from 2007 to 2017. It is, again, officially a criminally enterprise.

 

November 2020: 46 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives demand that DOJ fix its latest sweetheart deal with the Sacklers and Purdue.

 

December 2020: The U.S. House Oversight Committee conducts a hearing on The Role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family in the Opioid Epidemic.  Twenty-five years after they launched OxyContin, it is the first and only time that members of the Sackler family testify in public.

 

January 2021: McKinsey agrees to pay $600M and make its documents public in a settlement regarding its work for the Sacklers.

 

March 15, 2021: Purdue files a bankruptcy plan that would give the Sacklers immunity.  That same day, twenty-five Attorneys General reject Purdue’s plan because it fails to deliver “the accountability that families and survivors deserve.”
 

March 19, 2021: Four days after Purdue files its plan, Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Mark DeSaulnier introduce the SACKLER Act in Congress.  The Act would stop the Sacklers from getting away with it.

 

That same day: The latest report filed in the bankruptcy shows that Purdue has spent $360 million on lawyers and bankers to protect the Sacklers, in what should be the corporate bankruptcy of a small company that has only 500 employees.

 

April 2021: Patrick Radden Keefe is scheduled to release his book, Empire of Pain.

 

May 2021: HBO is scheduled to release its documentary, The Crime of the Century.

 

August 9, 2021: Judge Robert Drain is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing on Purdue’s bankruptcy plan.  If the law allows him to give the Sacklers immunity, he will.  If the SACKLER Act passes first, the bankruptcy court will not have the power to protect the Sacklers anymore.