Raymond Sackler is not only a psychiatrist and expert in the psycho-biology of schizophrenia and manic depressive psychosis, but he is also the founder of several pharmaceutical companies, his most well-known being Purdue Pharma, LLP.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920, Sackler was not admitted to medical school in the United States when he first applied. Not one to give up easily, he traveled to Glasgow and attended the Anderson College of Medicine in Scotland. During WWII, he volunteered for the British Home Guard and also worked as a plane spotter. During the war he was able to return to the USA to finish his medical studies. He received his degree from the Middlesex University School of Medicine in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1944, the same year he married Beverly Feldman.
Sackler became a board-certified psychiatrist and then became a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Sackler founded the Creedmoor Institute for Psychobiological Studies in New York City with his brothers Arthur and Mortimor. The brothers received two awards from the Medical Society of the State of New York for the research they conducted in the psycho-biology of schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis.
Mortimor and Raymond went on to launch Purdue Pharma, a company that is worth about $13 billion. Their most famous drug developed from the company is an opiate called Oxycontin.
Perhaps even greater than the work Sackler did in the realms of medicine and pharmaceuticals is his contribution to research and education through his numerous philanthropic organizations. Through the work of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundations, major work has been advanced in biomedical, biological, physical and engineering sciences. The foundation supports numerous schools, institutes, centers, departments, endowed chairs, professorships, fellowships, and research awards in the biomedical and physical sciences; lectureships at academic institutions around the world, and more.
In addition to all the above, Sackler is one of the founders of the American Program of the Sackler School of Medicine New York State four-year program at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.
Raymond Sackler was truly a unique man, whose passing only a few weeks ago on July 17, 2017, is a sad occasion for all who have benefited from his achievements.