Dopesick

Dopesick

by

Beth Macy

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Dopesick can help.

The Sackler Family (Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur) Character Analysis

The Sackler family are the owners of Purdue Pharma, the company that created OxyContin and which author Beth Macy calls “The Company That Addicted America.” Purdue was an obscure pharmaceutical company when it was founded in 1892. The Sackler family (brothers Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur) took it over in 1952, and it was later owned by their descendants. They gradually grew the company, first getting into painkillers in the 1980s, then releasing the massively popular OxyContin in the mid-1990s. Despite widespread evidence that OxyContin causes addiction (as well as historical precedent about addiction from other opioids), the Sacklers try to cover this up, with the help of Purdue executives and aggressive lawyers, including Dr. J. David Haddox and Howard Udell. Despite their pivotal role in creating the opioid crisis, the Sacklers generally avoid having to face any consequences for it and remain wealthy.

The Sackler Family (Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur) Quotes in Dopesick

The Dopesick quotes below are all either spoken by The Sackler Family (Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur) or refer to The Sackler Family (Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
).
Chapter 4 Quotes

Conspicuously absent from the courthouse drama was the family that owned the company and its 214 affiliates worldwide- and benefited the most from the drug’s sale. Purdue had earned over $2.8 billion from the drug by 2007, including $595 million in earnings in 2006 alone. Unlike a public company that answers to shareholders, privately held Purdue answered only to the Sacklers.

In 2015, the family would earn its way onto Forbes’s “America’s Richest Families” list. With an estimated net worth of $14 billion, the OxyContin clan would edge out such storied families as the Busches, Mellons, and Rockefellers. Having gone from selling earwax remover and laxatives to the most lucrative drug in the world, the family had museum wings and college institutes named for it from Boston to Tel Aviv.

Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Dopesick LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dopesick PDF

The Sackler Family (Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur) Character Timeline in Dopesick

The timeline below shows where the character The Sackler Family (Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur) appears in Dopesick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Cycles of History Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
...pharmaceutical company called Purdue Frederick, from Connecticut. The company is currently owned by three brothers: Mortimer, Raymond, and Arthur Sackler. They slowly grew the company, first getting into the painkiller business... (full context)
Chapter 3
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
...they represent a mixed success against the company, particularly compared to earlier lawsuit outcomes. The Sacklers realize that a plea deal is preferable to holding a trial in southwest Virginia, which... (full context)
Chapter 4
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
The Sackler family themselves are notably absent from the courtroom proceedings. In 2015, the Sacklers will be... (full context)
Chapter 12
Cycles of History Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
...lines about how pain is the real problem, and the only recent consequence for the Sacklers is that they have fallen from 16th to 19th on a Forbes list of the... (full context)