"was astonished to discover that the family that presided over the company that made OxyContin was a prominent philanthropic dynasty with what appeared to be an unimpeachable reputation."
"story about ambition, philanthropy, crime and impunity, the corruption of institutions, power, and greed."
Isaac Sackler always hoped that his sons would "leave their mark on the world," which they did, but my guess would be probably not in the way Isaac had intended.
The three Sackler sons (Arthur, Raymond and Mortimer) went on to become doctors, the latter two joining Arthur working in a state psychiatric facility in New Jersey, Creedmoor Hospital. In 1942, while still working at Creedmoor, Arthur accepted a position with the William Douglas McAdams agency which specialized in pharmaceutical advertising, where the focus became one of "how do you sell a pill?" Sackler was savvy enough to know that the real money would come from advertising directly to physicians rather than consumers, and beginning with a Pfizer product called Terramycin, he laid the foundations for future pharmaceutical marketing. Without going into detail, Sackler's strategies included marketing to "the prescribers" in medical journals, hiring a force of energetic sales reps, convincing prominent doctors to get on board with endorsements, having drug companies cite certain scientific studies (often underwritten by the companies themselves) that claimed that the new drug worked well and that it was safe. What Sackler had created was a "synergy between medicine and commerce," and the strategies worked: while the product itself wasn't particularly "groundbreaking," it was highly successful since "it had been marketed in a way that no drug had ever been." Not only had "Arthur invented the wheel," but he'd also laid the foundation for the future of pharmaceutical sales, including Valium, which more than cemented the Sackler family fortune. He also bought a "small pharmaceutical company" in 1952, by the name of Purdue Frederick, the running of which would be left in the hands of his brothers.
"study of impunity among the super elite and a relentless investigation of the naked greed and indifference to human suffering that built one of the world's great fortunes."