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Protesters mass against Big Pharma family responsible for opioid deaths

The Guggenheim Museum in New York was brought to a standstill on Saturday night when protesters dropped thousands of fake prescriptions into the atrium in protest against donations from the family responsible of America’s opioids crisis.

Published: February 11, 2019, 5:54 am

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    New York

    Protesters riled against the owners of OxyContin – a deadly prescription painkiller – demanding that the museum cut ties with the Sackler family. The Sacklers are the owners of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer and marketer of OxyContin.

    A die-in was staged and the visuals of the event were uploaded onto Twitter. It also showed the leaflets being thrown from one of the museum’s upper floors. The museum’s Sackler Center for Arts Education, which includes multimedia labs and lecture theatres, was gifted by the family in 2001.

    Recently a court filing revealed that a member of the Sackler family had predicted the launch of the opioid painkiller would be “followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition” suggesting that they were well aware of the drug’s addictive potential.

    According to the Associated Press, Purdue Pharma, the executives and members of the Sackler family have been accused of deceiving patients and doctors about the risk of opioids but wanted to keep patients on it for longer.

    Oxycodone, the active ingredient, is the most common painkiller in prescription opioid deaths. The drug contains the narcotic which behaves like opium or morphine but are many times more powerful.

    The museum did not respond to requests for comment on the protests.

    The protesters then moved to nearby Fifth Avenue, to the Metropolitan Museum while police lined the streets. The Metropolitan also has a wing named after the Sacklers and paid for by the multi-billionaire family.

    According to US government figures from the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses now kill more than 72 000 people in the US a year, which amounts to some 200 people every day.

    The majority of those deaths – 49 000 – are caused by opioids, including prescription painkillers like OxyContin.

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