The National Gallery in London. Photo: Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons.
The National Gallery in London. Photo: Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons.

En an announcement made this Monday, May 9, the National Gallery in London has announced the removal of the Sackler family name from its salons. In a joint statement with the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation – the family’s UK charity – the institution states that both parties “have agreed that, after 30 years, the appointment of Room 34 as the Sackler Gallery should reach the The end". The museum's move follows growing demand for institutions to disassociate themselves from pharmaceutical moguls associated with Purdue Pharma, maker of the pain reliever Oxycodone. In recent years, the US has been experiencing a public health crisis thanks to the indiscriminate use of opiates (a family of drugs derived from the poppy, of which Oxycodone is a part). There are also allegations that Purdue Pharma deliberately concealed its addictive potential.

Concurrently, in New York, a similar decision was taken by the Guggenheim Museum, silently, however. For decades the museum benefited from generous donations from the oligarchs and even honored them by naming the Center for Artistic Education. The museum's website, however, shows no relationship whatsoever to the Purdue Pharma owners.

Prior to the recent episodes, the Tate group, the Serpentine Galleries, the British Museum – all English –, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée du Louvre in Paris had already removed mention of the Sackler name from their galleries and buildings.

In England, the National Gallery's latest move could increase pressure on the Victoria and Albert Museum, which opened a courtyard named after the Sacklers in 2017 after a $9,9 million donation.

In the United States, an agreement between the Sacklers and the US state – which would grant the Sackler family immunity from opioid-related lawsuits – faced opposition from nine attorneys general. In early March his objections were dropped, making the decision possible. In return, the Sacklers must pay the state $6 billion. Some critics of the agreement point out that, according to court documents, the family would have received US$ 10 billion over the years in profits related to oxycodone, others point out that the agreed contribution will be soon recovered by the family and is below the amount of US$ 1 trillion. spent annually by the US on the opiate crisis.

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