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The Sackler Family Business

  • Course Code: MOD003325
  • Course Title: The Sackler Family Business
  • University: University Of Oxford

The Sackler family own the pharmaceutical company, Purdue Pharma, which is responsible for manufacturing the highly addictive opioid OxyContin. At various stages of the company’s history, family members have sat on the board. As of May 2019, 45 U.S. states and 1,500 cities were suing Purdue Pharma for misconduct in marketing and sales of a highly profitable drug. The company has been accused of making false claims about OxyContin, branding it as ‘Hope in a bottle’. They have also been accused of misleading both the public and medical professionals about the drug’s effectiveness whilst downplaying the addictive nature of the drug. The company’s marketing strategy has been criticised for being aggressive and manipulative. In the mid-1990s when OxyContin was launched, medical professionals were treated to all expenses paid conferences in resorts. There is a significant amount of data to support the fact that this tactic has an impact on prescribing decisions. State data was also used to target specific areas where there was a high level of pain killers being prescribed to chronic pain suffers. The number of sales representatives hired by the firm increased significantly, and the budget used to promote the drug was significantly higher than any other comparable drug. As a result, OxyContin became one of the most highly prescribed drugs on the U.S. market, and the fact that it was highly addictive meant that it continued to be prescribed. The Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller, said that Purdue Pharma was recklessly indifferent to the impact of their actions, despite ever-mounting evidence that their deceptions were resulting in an epidemic of addiction and death’.

Adapted from:

If you are studying a degree related to Business or Law, you may wish to focus your analysis section on 3-4 of the following points:

  • Success in terms of revenue and how this is affected by unethical behaviour.

(This could include whether revenue increased or decreased as a result of the unethical behaviour).

  • Success from the perspective of shareholders and how this is affected by unethical behaviour. (This could include whether the shareholders were happy at the actions of the company.)
  • Success from the perspective of the board and how this is affected byunethical behaviour. (This could include whether the actions of the boardbrought success to the business.)
  • Success from the perspective of public confidence and how this is affected by unethical behaviour. (This could include whether the public see the company as being successful or unethical.)

Your report should follow the structure and suggested word counts below:

Cover Page

  • Title of the report
  • Title of the module
  • Student Number (1xxxxxx)
  • Date of submission
  • Word count

Executive Summary (not included in the word count)

  • Summary of each section of the report

Contents Page

  • Main section headings with page numbers

Introduction (suggested: 250-300 words)

  • Definition/s of success and what success means to the organisation
  • Role of ethics in success
  • Brief summary of the case study
  • A sentence summarising the main aims of the report

Analysis (suggested: 1250 words, 3-4 points)

  • Short introductory paragraph including a statement with the aim of the report and a map sentence.
  • Identification and selection of 3-4 distinct aspects from ‘Points to consider’ or from student’s own research. These aspects should be the topics of the main body paragraphs.
  • Each body paragraph should include a topic sentence which links it to the question.
  • In order to analyse each aspect, research from relevant sources should be used to support the evaluation of the extent to which the reputation of the organisation has been damaged.

Conclusion (suggested: 150 words)

  • Summary of the Analysis section

Recommendations (suggested: 300 words)

  • Introductory statement
  • Three recommendations that are based upon the points considered in the

Analysis section

  • Each recommendation must suggest how the organisation in the case study can protect itself against unethical behaviour

Reference List (not included in word count)

  • This should follow the conventions of Harvard referencing.

Appendices (not included in word count)

  • Any figures, tables, or diagrams etc. can be included here.
  • NB. There is no expectation for students to complete an appendices section.

Allocation of Marks (4 x 25%)

  • Use of sources (including: range, quality, paraphrasing/ summarising and referencing)
  • Structure (including: report structure, paragraph structure and cohesion)
  • Task fulfilment (including: relevancy, clarity and level of analysis)
  • Language (including: range, accuracy and style)


  • Knowledge and understanding of relevant research relating to ethical issues related to the case studies as well as analysing and understanding the implications of these issues.
  • Ability to independently manage learning resources, demonstrate command of

Harvard referencing, structure a report according to academic conventions and express ideas accurately while maintaining academic style.



Organizations establish their empire with some specific objective just as to earn profit and success in such a competitive market. For entrepreneurs success can mean anything from making money and building the brand image in the market. Success brings stories of life, experiences, struggles everything. Also these elements are the reason behind the success too. Success is the most important aspect for the organizations to get encouragement to grow further. On the other side, Work ethics also play a most essential role to sustain the business in long term. Ethic makes company outcomes productive and efficient.


Analysing terms of revenue how this is affected by unethical behaviour.

Companies who having strong relationship between ethics and working behaviour they always need to concern about their public image too. They will never let down in front of marketers (Buraimo, Migali and Simmons, 2016). In terms of that, it is very necessary for the organization to be good in the market in order to gain the positive outcomes from the customers & good revenues.

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