Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This week's obituaries

Alice Miller, a psychoanalyst who repositioned the family as a locus of dysfunction with her theory that parental power and punishment lay at the root of nearly all human problems, died at her home in Provence on April 14. She was 87.

Dr. Mortimer Sackler. . . became a prominent psychiatrist, specializing in schizophrenia and depression, before becoming a pharmaceutical entrepreneur along with his brothers Arthur and Raymond. The brothers were convinced that pharmaceutical solutions and what they called psychobiology could replace common treatments such as electric shock or lobotomy. But it was only when Mortimer was nearly 80, 14 years ago, that the painkiller OxyContin, produced by his company Purdue Pharma, brought him a serious fortune. That drug alone brought in $2.5bn last year. He and his family were estimated a few years ago as worth £300m but he gave much, if not most, of his wealth to education, science, medicine and culture.

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