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Purdue University must remind people it has no ties to Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma offering to settle lawsuits
Purdue Pharma offering to settle lawsuits 02:00

They're both named Purdue, but that's where the similarities end. 

Purdue Pharma is the multi-billion-dollar drug company alleged to have hooked millions of Americans on opioids. 

Purdue University is the Big Ten university in Indiana known for its engineering school and basketball chops.   

Not everyone can distinguish between the two Purdues, however. 

University spokesman Tim Doty tells CBS MoneyWatch that uninformed parties have contacted the university president's office and its board of trustees in hopes of reaching Purdue Pharma execs. And so the publicly funded school based in West Lafayette finds it must distance itself from the privately owned company based in Hartford, Connecticut, that's offering to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging it fueled the nation's opioid crisis.

"There are occasional emails and phone calls from people who might think the two are one in the same but to those people we politely reply that we are not," Doty said. "If someone says they've gotten a call thinking the two are the same, we send out a statement. We have a statement on our website, and when there are stories in the media we push it out to outlets that are reporting it and hope to get some traction."

Here's how the Purdue University statement reminds people it is in no way tied to Purdue Pharma: "Purdue University is not and has never been affiliated in any way with Purdue Pharma. The pharmaceutical company was founded in Manhattan in 1892 by John Purdue Gray and George Frederick Bingham as the Purdue Frederick Company. Purdue University was founded in 1869 as Indiana's land-grant institution, named for benefactor John Purdue," the statement reads.

Purdue Pharma's recent bad press has spurred numerous arts and cultural institutions to shun the company as well as members of its founding Sackler family by vowing not to accept their philanthropic donations, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Tate museums in London. 

Doty maintains Purdue Univiersity's popularity among students remains unchanged.  It is No. 56 on U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of the best colleges, with more than 31,000 undergraduate students paying in-state tuition and fees are $10,002 and out-of-state tuition and fees are $28,804. It admits 57% of those who apply. Its athletic facilities are considered fifth best among all colleges and universities in the United States, according to the Princeton Review.   

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