National Sciences Academy Asks Court to Strip Sackler Name From Endowment

The National Academy of Sciences is asking a court to allow it to repurpose about $30 million in donations from the wealthy Sackler family, who controlled the company at the center of the opioid epidemic, and to remove the family name from the endowment funds.

The petition filed by the Academy in Superior Court in Washington, D.C., Thursday aims to modify the terms of the donations so the institution can use them for scientific studies, projects and educational activities.

The move follows a report in The New York Times last year that examined donations from several Sackler members, including an executive of Purdue Pharma, which produced the painkiller OxyContin that has long been blamed for fueling the opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives.

“The notoriety of the Sackler name has made it impossible for the Academy to carry out the purposes for which it originally accepted the funds,” Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, said in a statement released on Thursday.

Daniel S. Connolly, a spokesman for the Raymond Sackler family, said it supported the National Academies in “using the funds as they see fit” and would have supported the change.

“We would have said yes if we’d been asked, just as we will still say yes despite this unnecessary court filing and false assertions about us,” Mr. Connolly said in a statement.

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