Pharma company linked to US opioid crisis donated to Dublin drug treatment centre

Mallinckrodt remains long-standing ‘partner’ of Coolmine treatment centre despite opioid controversy

A pharmaceutical company that played a big role in escalating the US opioid crisis, has made donations to a west Dublin drug treatment centre, among other Irish charities.

Mallinckrodt, a multinational pharma company that is based in Dublin but run in the US, donated about €70,000 to Coolmine drug and alcohol treatment centre, between donations of funds or goods in recent years.

The drug maker previously filed for bankruptcy in Delaware, in the face of a wave of lawsuits claiming it had deceptively marketed opioids in the US, with the High Court in Ireland last year approving a debt restructuring plan for the company.

Under the plan the opioid manufacturer set up a $1.6 billion (€1.5 billion) trust to resolve opioid-related claims with US states, local governments and private individuals.


Mallinckrodt was previously described by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as the “kingpin” of pharmaceutical companies driving the opioid epidemic in the US, which saw an explosion in prescription, misuse, addiction and overdoses linked to heavy painkillers.

The company accounted for a significant portion of the market of now-controversial prescription painkillers, alongside other more high-profile opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma.

Mallinckrodt, which employs about 120 people in a facility in Blanchardstown, west Dublin, has been a long-standing “partner” of Coolmine treatment centre since 2016.

The partnership has continued in recent years despite the manufacturer being increasingly embroiled in controversy over its role in the prescription opioid crisis.

Records show the drug maker donated €15,000 to the addiction treatment centre in 2017, and the following year donated two new transport vehicles worth €50,000.

In response to a query in late 2019, Pauline McKeown, Coolmine chief executive, said at “no stage” was the treatment centre previously aware of any US investigations into Mallinckrodt or its subsidiaries.

Records show Coolmine continued its partnership with the drug maker after this point, with Mallinckrodt disclosing a further €4,700 ($5,075) donation to the centre in 2020.

In a statement to The Irish Times, Ms McKeown said while 90 per cent of Coolmine’s funding last year came from State grants, it also relies on “public and corporate sponsors to continue supporting clients on their journeys of recovery”.

Mallinckrodt had supported the treatment centre since 2016, “through donations which have contributed toward the upkeep of our residential facilities in Dublin,” she said.

“Coolmine has a clear and defined set of principles which govern our organisation, with honesty, consistency, and responsibility at the heart of everything we do for clients,” Ms McKeown said. “All of our corporate sponsors have demonstrated the same values in their generosity and support of the charity.”

Mallinckrodt did not respond to requests for comment on its partnership with the drug treatment centre.

Promoting its support of Coolmine in a 2018 press release, the company’s then chief executive, Mark Trudeau, said it had a “long-standing relationship” with the treatment centre, who were “recognised as a leading corporate social responsibility partner for us in Dublin”.

President Michael D Higgins recently visited Coolmine to mark the treatment centre’s 50th anniversary, having opened in 1973.

Mallinckrodt has also previously donated funds to homeless charity Dublin Simon Community, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, ChildVision, Children’s Health Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Ireland, according to disclosures in its annual corporate reports.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times