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Why is the Met dropping the Sackler name from its galleries?

Why is the Met dropping the Sackler name from its galleries?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, more commonly known as the Met, is one of the largest museums in the world.

The Met has operated for over 150 years with the help of charitable contributions from private and public institutions. The museum often ends up naming its galleries after its generous benefactors.

However, in December 2021, the Met decided to drop the Sackler family name from seven of its exhibition spaces.

This decision came in light of the Sackler family’s alleged role in America’s opioid crisis.

Here’s the story

The Sackler family are the founders of Purdue Pharma, which released the opioid painkiller Oxycontin in 1995. The drug was initially hailed as a medical breakthrough due its effects on controlling moderate to severe pain.  

But the problem here was Purdue Pharma’s marketing. They persuaded the sceptical medical community into prescribing their drug as much as possible despite its addictiveness.

You see, Oxycontin’s active ingredient oxycodone, a chemical cousin of heroin, is up to twice as powerful as morphine. And the casual prescription of this drug fuelled a public health crisis that claimed the lives of about 500,000 people since 1999 and destroyed many more on account of opioid addiction.

Purdue Pharma subsequently faced 3,000 lawsuits and filed for bankruptcy in September 2019.

So how did they manage these liabilities?

Well, companies usually prepare for situations like this through Product Liability Insurance.

This insurance covers the company’s legal liability when one of its products causes harm to the public. It helps provide compensation to claimants and cover legal fees of the company in the event of a lawsuit.

While it is unclear if such an insurance would rescue the Sackler family, there's no help for them when it comes to The Met!

Found this interesting? Read about why major car manufacturers like BMW, Ford, and Honda began recalling thousands of cars in 2008

Further Reading

Learn more: Product Liability Insurance