Warren to donate money from family behind opioid giant

Warren to donate money from family behind opioid giant
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenButtigieg tweeted support for 'Medicare for All' in 2018 Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Hillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets MORE (D-Mass.) will donate $4,500 to charity in order to offset past contributions to her Senate campaign from members of the powerful family at the helm of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin widely accused of fueling the opioid crisis in the U.S.

Beverly Sackler, the wife of the late Raymond Sackler who ran Purdue Pharma with his brother, gave $1,000 to Warren’s Senate campaign in 2017, according to Federal Election Commission records.

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A Warren aide told The Wall Street Journal that the Massachusetts Democrat received campaign contributions from other Sackler family members going back to her first Senate bid in 2012.

An aide for Warren’s campaign confirmed the plan to offset those donations to The Hill, while a spokesperson for the Sackler family said they "would welcome a genuine dialogue" with Warren on the opioid crisis.

“Beverly Sackler is well into her 90s and denigrating her personal donation, made with the best intentions, can serve no proper political purpose," the spokesperson said. "We would welcome a genuine dialogue with the senator that’s fact-based, as the facts clearly demonstrate that the company started by Beverly's family has for decades been the industry leader in combatting opioid abuse while providing products essential for the treatment of serious chronic pain."

Other presidential contenders, including Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 Democrats recognize Pronouns Day Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seeks distance from Syria crisis MORE (D-N.J.), have previously received campaign contributions from Beverly Sackler, campaign finance records show.

The Journal first reported the planned charitable donations the same day that Warren, a 2020 presidential contender, announced her plans to reintroduce legislation that would provide $100 billion over the next 10 years to help combat the opioid crisis.

That plan includes $4 billion in funding for states, territories and tribal governments to combat the opioid crisis, as well as $500 million to expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone.  

Warren and Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE (D-Md.) first introduced the legislation, dubbed the CARE Act, in 2018.

In a post on Medium on Wednesday unveiling her plans to reintroduce the CARE Act with Cummings, Warren excoriated the Sackler family, accusing its members of profiting from widespread addiction to OxyContin.

“Under my opioid plan, billionaires like the Sacklers wouldn’t get to live the high life while only one out of five folks who need opioid treatment get the help they need,” Warren wrote. “Instead, they would pay up to help make sure every person gets the care they need.”

Purdue Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis is at the center of more than 1,600 lawsuits alleging that the company misled physicians and consumers about the addictive nature of OxyContin — a charge that the Sackler family denies.

—Updated at 11:26 a.m.