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Via Rt America: Mike Papantonio, host of America’s Lawyer, joins Lee Camp to discuss the opioid crisis in America and how it’s largely manufactured by pharma corporations for profit.

Transcript of the above video:

Lee Camp: You’re currently dealing with major cases revolving around the opioid crisis. Last year more Americans died from opioids or overdosing in general than US soldiers died during the entire Vietnam War, which also ironically involved a lot of heroin. But you say there’s a lot of blame here for the opioid producers and the distributors. Is that right?

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, I think the distributors are primarily responsible for this. Here’s why. If distributors such as Amerisource or McKesson or Cardinal, those are the three major distributors that control 85% of the distribution market in the country even though there are 800 distributors throughout the country. What happened in 1970 is the government comes out with guidelines on how these drugs should be distributed. They give these distributors the right to do it but they say to them, ‘You are the last line in the sand. You’re the gate keeper and you know what, if you don’t do your job we’re going to have an opioid catastrophe on our hands.’

And sure enough, they didn’t do their job. They didn’t do their job Lee because they were making so much money doing it. We’re not talking just about hundreds. We’re not talking about hundreds of millions, we’re talking about billions that these companies were making. This intentionally happened. This wasn’t a mistake. This wasn’t, ‘Oh, gee whiz, I’ve lost my phone.’ No, this is, ‘I know how we’re going to make a lot of money here and the way we’re going to do it is we’re going to let this whole thing develop as it will.’ No control at all really.

Lee Camp: This feels very similar to the tobacco companies who knew they were killing their customers or Exxon and Shell who we now have proof knew about climate change in the 70s and 80s. Are there some similarities there?

Mike Papantonio: A lot of similarities. Both of those situations, nobody has gone to prison and until we as a culture and a society starts saying, we have to throw some of these people in prison. ‘Yeah, they’re dressed up in three-piece suits. They drive nice cars. They drive Mercedes Benz and Bentley’s. They have a Rolex watch. They don’t look like criminals, let’s leave them alone. They don’t wear hoodies.’ Until we start putting some of these CEOs in prison for these decisions that they intentionally reach, I mean they know exactly what they’re doing. There’s no question that they know exactly what they’re doing when this happened.

You may recall, you bring up tobacco, you may recall that in the tobacco wars you had the 12 representatives of these companies, seven, excuse me, stand up in front of Congress and just lie top to bottom. Same things going to happen with the global warming issue. Same things happening here.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.