The family that controls Purdue Pharma is halting new donations from its trust after a series of rejected donations from high-profile arts institutions last week.
A lawsuit against Purdue naming eight Sackler family members charges the company with aggressively marketing OxyContin despite being aware of its addictive qualities, contributing to the U.S. opioid epidemic. The Sacklers and Purdue deny any wrongdoing.
In a statement on the Sackler Trust website, chair Theresa Sackler said the board wants to protect the recipient institutions from the press attention Purdue Pharma is getting:
The Sackler Trust since 2010 has committed £60 million ($79 million) to a range of causes, the BBC reports. This March, Britain’s National Portrait Gallery said it would not accept a long-discussed $1.3 million donation from the trust. The Tate in London also said it would no longer accept money from the Sackler family, and the Guggenheim in New York followed suit.
Purdue Pharma reportedly made more than $4 billion between 2008 and 2016—the years leading up to President Donald Trump’s declaration of the opioid epidemic as a national emergency. More than 100 people die from opioid overdoses every day in the U.S.—more than 37,000 people per year.
Growing criticism from the arts community of accepting money won from the powerful painkiller has included guerrilla protests such as photographer Nan Goldin’s shower of prescription paper slips in the Guggenheim in February.