King’s received donations from the opioid producing Sackler family as recently as last year

King’s has no plans to apply for further funding from the Sackler family

New information shows that King’s College London was until recently being funded by the opioid-producing Sackler family, with the institution last receiving donations as recently as 2022.

In 2019, the BBC announced that King’s College London had received a donation of £2m from the Sackler family. Since the Tab covered this news, King’s then received a further £250,000 in 2020. The final instalment from the family came in 2022 and amounted to £750,000. 

According to Business Insider, the Sackler family are ranked as one of America’s richest families, with a collective net worth of $13b in 2020. As owners of the privately held pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma, they developed the prescription painkiller, OxyContin.

OxyContin is a controversial drug – it induces over 130 deaths in the US every day and is known to fuel the opioid crisis. Since the release of drugs like OxyContin in 1995, nearly 500,000 lives have been lost.

With the ever-emerging news of King’s sponsorship by the Sackler family, it seems appropriate to uncover the motivation behind these donations.

On the basis of these generous financial donations, the Sacklers are seen to promote a philanthropic approach to development overseas, targeting both Universities and cultural institutes. The family does however not openly discuss the motivations or procedures of the family-run business. As these donations are being uncovered by the British public eye, the donations to King’s are deemed as continuous support from the Sackler foundation to promote ongoing studies surrounding neurodevelopmental disorders. 

The educational institution explained to The Big Issue that these donations accumulated to a “final extension of existing funding to support ongoing work to understand neurodevelopmental disorder”. King’s has no plans to apply for further funding from the Sackler family.

Other public bodies across the UK have also been recipients of approximately £14m donations by the Sackler family. The National Portrait Gallery, the V&A, and Kew Gardens have recently all removed signage and any other links with the family. However, King’s is yet to remove the name attached to The Sackler Institute, which was launched in 2013. 

Featured image via @sacklerpain on Twitter.

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