Tufts University severs ties with family behind OxyContin

School has concerns about Purdue Pharma's role in the opioid crisis

BOSTON — Members of the family that own OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma say they will push to reverse Tufts University's decision to strip their name from campus facilities and programs.

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Daniel Connolly, an attorney for several members of the Sackler family, issued a statement Thursday saying the school's decision is based on "unproven allegations about the Sackler family and Purdue."

"We will be seeking to have this improper decision reversed and are currently reviewing all options available to us," Connolly said.

Tufts leaders announced Thursday they were cutting ties with the family over concerns about its role in the opioid crisis. They plan to remove the Sackler name from the university's graduate school of biomedical sciences, its medical school building, and a laboratory and two research funds.

A bottle of prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. sits on a counter at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah. (REUTERS/George Frey)

Students, faculty and activists have pressured the school to part ways with the family amid allegations that Purdue Pharma aggressively pushed OxyContin despite its addiction risks.

Tufts officials announced the decisions at the same time they released findings from an external report examining the school's relationship with Purdue and the Sacklers. The review found no major wrongdoing but concluded the school often appeared to be too close to the family and its company.

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Connolly said the report proves the Sacklers "conducted themselves properly," adding that it's "particularly disturbing and intellectually dishonest" to juxtapose the naming decision with the release of the report.

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