Why Sack the Sacklers

A  frenzy is taking place around the Sackler Trust and the belief that the trust’s funds arise from the abusive sale of the habit forming drug OxyContin. This drug has been sold for years by the Sackler family’s company Purdue Pharma. There are several high profile legal cases in America blaming the company for high levels of addiction. Should this affect the charity?

Previous Sackler Donations (examples)

  • The V&A the Sackler Courtyard,
  • The National Theater the Sackler Pavilion
  • The Royal Academy of Arts  the Sackler Galleries
  • The National Gallery the Sackler Room
  • Oxford University the Sackler Library
  • Sadler’s Wells’ Sackler meeting room
  • The Globe Sackler education studios
  • Alexandra Palace a new creative learning zone

Now the National Portrait Gallery, The Prince’s Trust and the Tate have decided not to accept or seek donations from the trust.


  • Is this just virtue signalling that has little consequence for the addiction problems. Is this a media storm in a tea cup stirred by ‘squeamish’ trustees.
  • It is interesting that so much of the support has been given to  ‘state art’ organisations. Who will fill the funding void.
  • The OxyContin drug  continues to have significant medical benefits when  correctly prescribed and administered.
  • The trustees of the Sackler Trust UK Charity no. 1132097 say they ‘have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all new philanthropic giving, while still honouring existing commitments.’

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