JPMorgan cuts ties with Purdue Pharma over opioid crisis

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JPMorgan Chase cut ties with Purdue Pharma to prevent any damage to the bank's reputation over involvement with the pharmaceutical giant and its alleged role in the US opioid epidemic

JPMorgan Chase cut ties with Purdue Pharma to prevent any damage to the bank's reputation over involvement with the pharmaceutical giant and its alleged role in the US opioid epidemic (AFP Photo/SPENCER PLATT)

New York (AFP) - JPMorgan Chase cut ties with American pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma over its alleged involvement in the US opioid addiction epidemic, a source close to the matter said Thursday.

JPMorgan informed the drug manufacturer it would need to find a new bank to carry out JPMorgan's current responsibilities, which include cash flow management and invoices.

The decision was made in order to prevent any damage to JPMorgan's reputation over to its involvement with Purdue, the source added.

Purdue became a dominant force in the pharmaceutical industry largely due to the blockbuster painkiller OxyContin.

There are hundreds of lawsuits in various states against both Purdue and its owner the Sackler family, who are accused of pushing for the prescription of OxyContin despite knowing how addictive it is.

Purdue Pharma did not immediately respond to AFP's request for comment. JPMorgan Chase declined to comment.

The Sacklers have been high-profile philanthropists to cultural institutions such as the Tate in London and the Guggenheim in New York, but museums and galleries have recently been rebuffing their donations because of the opioid crisis fallout.

The most recent museum to cut ties with the Sackler family is New York's Metropolitan Museum, which announced earlier this month that it will cease accepting gifts from the family.

In 2017, 70,000 people died of overdoses in the US, two-thirds of which have been linked to opioid use.

American banks have increasingly begun to take stances on social issues.

Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs took steps to limit their exposure to companies selling firearms, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon was one of several bank leaders to sign a letter last year denouncing the Trump administration's anti-immigration policies.