OxyContin pills. Photo: Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family — both of which are facing legal questions about their involvement in the opioid epidemic — made donations to Tufts University's medical school that may have helped advance their business interests, Stat News reports.

Details: Tufts, for example, allowed a high-ranking Purdue executive who said in 2003 that OxyContin wasn't addictive to lecture in the pain program and receive the title of adjunct associate professor.

  • The Massachusetts attorney general has alleged that "Purdue got to control research on the treatment of pain coming out of a prominent and respected institution of learning."

The big picture: Experts told Stat that this isn't necessarily an example of a company buying influence, but instead it points to a larger problem:

  • "So much industry money flows to academic institutions, professional societies, and patient advocacy organizations that it’s hard to tease apart what’s a purchase of influence and what’s a marriage of convenience for groups with aligned interests or beliefs," Stat's Andrew Joseph writes.

Go deeper: 3 museums reject donations from Sackler family

Go deeper

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Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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