Major UK gallery drops donation due to opioid links


London (AFP)

Britain's historic National Portrait Gallery has cancelled a £1 million ($1.3 million, 1.1 million euros) donation from the Sackler family, which is accused of contributing to the US opioid crisis.

The Sackler Trust, run by the family that owns the controversial Purdue Pharma, had planned to give the sum to the gallery's Inspiring People project.

"It has become evident that recent reporting of allegations made against Sackler family members may cause this new donation to deflect the National Portrait Gallery from its important work," said a spokesman for the Sackler Trust.

Purdue Pharma sells the prescription painkiller OxyContin, and is facing a raft of lawsuits in the US, where it is accused of contributing to people getting hooked on opioids.

Art photographer and former opioid addict Nan Goldin has been a vocal critic of the Sackler family, which claims to have donated more than £60 million to philanthropic causes in Britain, and told the Guardian she was "so happy" with the gallery's decision.

The Sackler family said it "vigorously denied" the accusations about its role in the opioid crisis, which claimed around 60,000 US lives in 2018.

The lawsuits allege that Purdue Pharma marketed OxyContin wrongly as a drug with a low-risk of triggering addiction.