Via The News with Rick Sanchez: Somehow, our system of justice allows people to do things that they don’t necessarily have to be responsible for. Is that what we’re seeing with opioid manufacturers? Attorney and host of America’s Lawyer, Mike Papantonio, joins Rick Sanchez to explain more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Rick Sanchez:                       New documentary out. It tackles this issue. It’s called the Oxy Kingpins. It’s going to air on the TYT network. Here, take a look.

Mike Papantonio:             The people who were making the drugs, they, they understood that this was a cash cow for them. The manufacturers, the distributors, the big store pharmacies, they’re all part of it and that’s why we’ve brought a lawsuit. They knew that there were people in the field that were illegal distributors. They’re saying, I don’t even know who these people are. They know exactly who the people are.

Rick Sanchez:                       That was Mike Papantonio and that is Mike Papantonio, he joins us now live. Pap, so much, so good to see you. As you know, Mike Papantonio is the host of American Lawyer here at RT America. We’re so honored to have him on to talk about this. Something he knows as well as anybody out there, anybody in the country. Let’s start with the idea that in our system, that somehow our system of justice, allows people to do things that they don’t necessarily have to be responsible for. Is, is that kind of what we’re seeing here? And is it a system wide problem?

Mike Papantonio:             It is Rick. Let me step outside of the opioid litigation and talk about the general problem. In MBA school, here’s what they’re taught. They’re taught you can take big risks and you can make big profit and here’s how it works. You’re going to do some stuff that you’re going to get caught for. You’re going to have dangerous products that you know are going to kill people. Your scientists say is they’re very dangerous. They shouldn’t be on the market. You’re going to destroy entire ecosystems because of the chemicals that you put in the ground, knowing that it’s going to destroy that ecosystem. At the end of the day, though, all you have to be concerned about is how do you interact with regulators. Because the EPA dysfunctional, the FDA dysfunctional, the SEC dysfunctional and to some degree, the DOJ dysfunctional, is going to come to you and say, you know, we’re going to fine you Mr. widget maker for $150 million.

To the average person on the street it sounds like a lot of money. But widget maker has made $10 billion that year. So widget maker says, yeah, I’ll pay the $150 million, I mean, $150 million because they make a big profit. Then they say, when things really get bad, when people like Papantonio or Mark Lanier, my friend out in Texas, or the other folks that are involved in this national litigation on opioids. When we go after you in big numbers, we’re going to get protection from the courts because that’s the way the system works. And we’re going to, we’re going to use the system. They’re, they’re, they’re taught this in MBA school and the problem is, let’s walk away from opioids, let me just talk about in general. Until we perp walk, until you put them in a perp walk, these corporate types, whether it’s chemical, whether it’s medical, whatever it is, when we know they’re criminals, but they don’t look like criminals because they’re dressed up in Armani suits.

They drive Bentleys. They have, they have, they have fancy watches. They come from an elite MBA school. So we don’t treat them the same way, Rick. Our culture is upside down. The kid on the street with a hoodie on selling marijuana on the corner, if he does it three times and he’s caught, he’s going to prison the rest of his life.

Rick Sanchez:                       Yeah, yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             These cats commit man, manslaughter by the hundreds of thousands.

Rick Sanchez:                       We just, well, I mentioned that.

Mike Papantonio:             That’s the comparison.

Rick Sanchez:                       When I looked at the numbers, 3000 people were apparently killed by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, right. And as a result, we started two wars that lasted 19, almost 20 years, in two different countries and decimated the entire Middle East. That was 3000. When I checked today and I was stunned when I saw the number of opioid deaths, 450,000. And where’s the war? Where’s the national outrage.,

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, it’s actually 500,000 and it’s growing by the day. Here’s the problem. The problem is it’s just part of our culture now. Department of, we, we think of Eric Holder, Eric Holder was supposed to be this cat came in and he was going to go after Wall Street for the big burndown. Prosecuted nobody. Took no action on any of these corporations. One corporation washing money for terrorists, where American soldiers are killed. They admit it. They signed a six page document, we know we washed the money. It was for terrorism and it killed these soldiers. And you know what Eric Holder did. He gave them a fine to let them off. We can’t do that anymore. We have to treat them like the criminals they are. And I’m not talking about opioids. I’m talking about the entire corporate structure.

Rick Sanchez:                       Yeah. And the problem is the regulatory agencies aren’t doing their job. And as you mentioned or intimated, the justice department isn’t up to par either and that’s a, that’s a serious issue. And I’m so glad Mike, that you, that you brought this to our attention. Mike Papantonio, thank you, my friend.

Mike Papantonio:             Thank you, Rick.

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.