‘Dopesick’: Where is the Real Richard Sackler now? Is the Sackler Family Still Rich?
After viewing Hulu‘s new drama miniseries, Dopesick, viewers want to know more about the real Richard Sackler (portrayed by Michael Stuhlbarg). Find out where he is today and how the lawsuits depicted in the series affected him and his family. Plus, take a look at when television host John Oliver slammed Richard Sackler on Last Week Tonight in 2021. The comedian explained precisely how much Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy does not affect Sackler or his family.
How accurate is ‘Dopesick’?
The 8-part series Dopesick on Hulu is based on Beth Macy’s nonfiction book by the same name. Her work details the lengths that Purdue Pharma’s leaders went to market OxyContin in the late 1990s. The Hulu drama depicts the 2007 lawsuit against Purdue for misbranding the prescription drug as less addictive than it was.
As an executive producer on the series, Macy ensured that the portrayal of the opioid epidemic in America was accurate. The series creator Danny Strong also felt strongly about keeping the story’s roots as accurate as possible.
In August 2021, The New York Times reported Richard Sackler claimed no responsibility for the opioid epidemic in America. However, by that time, Purdue pleaded guilty twice to federal criminal charges regarding the sales and marketing of OxyContin. The story of the opioid epidemic in the United States is devastatingly accurate in Dopesick.
‘Dopesick’: Where is Richard Sackler today?
According to the New Yorker, Richard Sackler resided outside Austin, Texas, from 2013 to 2018. He married Beth Sackler and had three children; Rebecca, Marianna, and David. However, the couple has since divorced. Most of the Sacklers prefer to stay out of the public light. Richard now resides in Florida. The lawsuit that is depicted in Dopesick ended up as a slap on the wrist for Richard Sackler and Purdue Pharma. They settled the suit and then went on to make billions in manufacturing and distributing OxyContin after the 2007 suit. However, the litigation piled up and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2019. However, the bankruptcy deal also provides immunity for the families and a long list of people from Purdue Pharma.
“The bankruptcy deal that Purdue has proposed is the vehicle through which the Sacklers are likely to escape any true accountability,” John Oliver explained on an episode of Last Week Tonight. “Very basically, Purdue was buried in thousands of lawsuits, and rather than fighting them all separately, the company filed for bankruptcy, negotiated to resolve all of its debts in one place.”
Purdue Pharma became a public health company designed to help those affected by the opioid epidemic through the deal. Richard Sackler is no longer the President of Purdue like in Dopesick on Hulu.
Is the Sackler family still rich in 2021?
Again, John Oliver provided a solid explanation regarding whether Richard Sackler and his family are still rich in 2021.
“The Sacklers themselves are only contributing around $4.3 billion to that settlement, which I do know does sound like a lot,” he adds. “Until you learn the family has assets of around $11 billion, which is a massive amount of money.”
Although the bankruptcy dissolves the Purdue Pharma company as it was known, the Sackler family doesn’t lose very much money. A total of $4.3 billion is paid out from the family over nine years. So, as Oliver points out, the family could make that money back in interest over time.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to accountability for the Sacklers, this is probably it,” the host added. “Technically, they could still be criminally charged. Nobody expects that to happen. I think it’s just infuriating that things are set to end so comfortably for a family that has made so much at the expense of so many.”
Yes, the real Richard Sackler from Dopesick and his family are still rich in 2021. Dopesick is currently available for streaming on Hulu.
[Correction: An earlier version mistakenly said Michael Keaton portrays Richard Sackler, not Michael Stuhlbarg.]