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Menuhin Festival funding Swiss music festival rejects Sackler money

classical concert in a church
(Raphael Faux)

The Gstaad Menuhin Festivalexternal link has decided to forgo donations from British patron Theresa Sackler until further notice. 

The Sackler family owns the Purdue pharmaceutical group, which has become emblematic of the opioid crisis in the United States. 

As festival president Aldo Kropf told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntagexternal link, each year the Sackler family donates about CHF25,000 ($25,776) to the classical music event. The total festival budget is around CHF7.5 million, four million of which comes from sponsorship. 

Theresa Sackler lives in the Bernese Oberland resort town for part of the year. She is the widow of Mortimer Sackler, who founded the Purdue laboratory with his brother Raymond. Mortimer Sackler died in Gstaad in 2010. 

According to the American authorities, the opioid crisis has caused almost 400,000 deaths in the United States over the last 20 years. The manufacturer of one of the main opioid pain relief drugs, OxyContin by Purdue Pharma, was the subject of more than 2,000 complaints before announcing its bankruptcy in September. 

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