- OxyContin’s manufacturer and its billionaire owners gave millions of dollars to political candidates
- Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies spread propaganda and lobbied in favor of opioid prescribing
- When excluding organizations and only looking at candidates, Democrats received nearly $110,000 more than GOP politicians
OxyContin’s manufacturer and its billionaire owners gave millions of dollars to political candidates — who often held powerful positions — and organizations, but the opioid profiteers’ tentacles of influence reach much farther, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.
The Sackler family and Purdue Pharma, which is widely blamed for playing an essential role in starting the opioid epidemic, have given more than $1.3 million to U.S. candidates and another $1 million to political organizations since OxyContin’s creation, according to Center for Responsive Politics data, but that’s just the surface of how deep the pharmaceutical titans’ influence runs.
It’s difficult to tell exactly how far Purdue’s influence reaches, because the pharmaceutical industry pays front organizations to do most of its lobbying and that often occurs at the state level. The company has also pushed their influence in areas outside of Congress, such as to patient advocacy groups, hospital accreditors, physicians and federal agencies.
“As long as they pay out a nickel for every quarter or dollar they make, they’ll just keep doing it,” Wolfe told TheDCNF.
Ultimately, Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies spread propaganda and lobbied in favor of opioid prescribing through a variety of channels that are much less transparent than contributing money to political campaigns and groups, numerous investigations have shown.
Purdue is unique among other pharmaceutical giants in that it’s privately owned. The company’s $35 billion in OxyContin sales helped fuel the Sacklers’ $13 billion net worth, putting the clan among America’s 20 richest families, according to Forbes. A number of the family members serve on Purdue’s board and at least one living Sackler held numerous leadership positions.
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