Via America’s Lawyer: Paraquat has been around since the 90’s and has been called the deadliest weedkiller on the planet after being directly linked to Parkinson’s disease and a litany of other deadly ailments. Attorney Alex Taylor joins Mike Papantonio to describe how regulators have whitewashed the dangers of Paraquat over decades. The FDA is now warning the public about Xeljanz, a rheumatoid arthritis drug approved in 2012 that’s been linked to heart disease and cancer. Attorney Sara Papantonio joins Mike Papantonio to explain the dangerous results from recent safety trials.

Click here to learn more about Paraquat lawsuits and Parkinson’s Disease injuries.

Click here to learn more about Xeljanz lawsuits.


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

Mike Papantonio:             Roundup is far from the only weed killer that’s caused a stir among medical professionals, another popular herbicide called Paraquat has been called the deadliest weed killer on the planet. Yet, it’s still being sold on the shelves. I have Alex Taylor who’s after these folks to try to hold them responsible for what they’ve done, Alex, I mean the headline, three drops of Paraquat will kill you. Okay. Inhalation will cause Parkinson’s disease. Talk about it.

Alex Taylor:                           Absolutely. And that’s, that’s no joke. If you were to take just a couple of drops, put them in your mouth and then spit them right back out.

Mike Papantonio:             You’re dead.

Alex Taylor:                           That would be enough exposure to kill you.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Alex Taylor:                           What they’ve learned over the last several years is that even if you wear full PPE while you’re using this, which is what you’re required to do by the EPA, you actually have to have a license to do it.

Mike Papantonio:             Protection, full body protection.

Alex Taylor:                           Yeah. Think of all those videos you saw when COVID started happening, it looks just like that. If you wear all of that protection, but you use this on a daily basis in your work, you have more than double the risk of getting Parkinson’s.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. If you’re an applicator, you’re working on a golf course, all right, you’re using this stuff all the time. You’re seeing films where applicators aren’t wearing the full, the full outfit. So you’re assuming, well, it can’t be that bad. Well, you got to read the warning. Well, really? This is a guy, he’s been in this business forever, the warnings, you know, are this big and the threat is massive. The potential to cause Parkinson’s disease is over the top. What are the health issues? Just, is it just Parkinson’s disease? Which is, I don’t mean that, I mean, what an awful disease. But is it only Parkinson’s disease?

Alex Taylor:                           Oh no. The, if you have long-term exposure to this, it can cause potential lung damage, kidney damage, liver damage. I mean, this drug is toxic to every part of the body. Anywhere you get it, there is a serious risk. Obviously Parkinson’s is probably the scariest because of the long-term health benefits. I mean, you’re talking about, you know, long-term, you may end up in a wheelchair, you may end up with dementia. The long-term health risks are, you know, just terrible of the long-term exposure.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Easy question here. I know the answer because I’ve dealt with corporations like this for so long. How long did these folks that make Paraquat know about the dangers and didn’t tell anybody?

Alex Taylor:                           At least going back to the 1990s and possibly even further back than that. They’ve always known about the toxicity, but as early as 1990, they were aware that they could change the formulation to make this chemical safer, make it less toxic. There was a whistleblower that released a lot of documents about this that basically shows that they knew about it. There were options to make it safer and they didn’t because they were afraid it was gonna affect their bottom line.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So there’s no, there’s not even an age issue. A lot of times Parkinson’s develops later in life. We’re seeing people that are 40 years old that are developing Parkinson’s disease. The only reason they’re doing that, there’s nothing hereditary. There’s no other exposure. The only thing causing the Parkinson’s disease, which will kill them a slow ugly death.

Alex Taylor:                           Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio:             The only thing, the only relationship is Paraquat. Now, the company that sells this has seen that play out time and time again, over the years. Scientific data said, yes, Paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease. But still we can buy it in the United States. Other countries you can, the country where it’s produced has taken it off the market. It’s banned.

Alex Taylor:                           Yeah. It’s banned in the EU since 2007. It’s even banned in China and Brazil now. I mean, there’s, there’s hardly any country that doesn’t ban this, except the EPA still hasn’t gotten around to it.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. And the EPA, of course, as we’ve talked about before on this show, this is kind of your specialty is going after these corporations for this kind of conduct, the EPA is completely owned and operated by the chemical industry. I mean, that, that’s, that’s the big problem. We want to believe something different. But if you look at the history on this, there was, when we see the documents, the documents are going to show well below the 90s. I mean, we’re talking about 70s and maybe even earlier, this connection that they saw neurological disease related to this, to this herbicide and they, they could draw no other conclusion. It’s, it’s related, right?

Alex Taylor:                           Absolutely. I mean, the science has been around for decades and decades that this drug or this chemical, once it gets into your system, it oxidizes just about every part of your body, including parts of your brain, where the neurons deposit dopamine, which is what leads to this Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. And you’re one of the specialist handling it. Good luck with it, okay. It’s going to be a big fight as you know.

Alex Taylor:                           You bet, thanks Pap.

Mike Papantonio:             Thank you for joining me.

Mike Papantonio:             The FDA is again resorting to damage control, now warning the public about another cancer causing drug, that’s been on the market, oh, by the way, since 2012. Well, we’re seeing dangerous results from safety trials, yet the drug still hasn’t been pulled from the pharmacies. It’s still on the market. It’s classic FDA. Joining me to talk about this is Sara Papantonio, Sara you’re handling this case. Tell us about Xeljanz. Lay the 10,000 foot out for us.

Sara Papantonio:              Right. Xeljanz is a drug that suppresses the immune system. What it’s used to, is it’s used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. And what we found is that the drug has been on the market since 2012. For years, we’ve known that it has been related to severe cardiac arrest, major heart conditions, pulmonary embolisms, blood clots. That’s no question. In fact, the FDA just recently issued a black box warning on those conditions. But just a month ago, the FDA came out and said, hey, not only does it cause major cardiac events, it also causes cancer. So it’s just one thing after another with this drug that we’re seeing. It’s just a very dangerous drug that’s on the market right now.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Well, I’ve been following, I’ve been to trial with Pfizer more than most lawyers, all back when you were in grade school, you know, and, and the truth is, it’s always the same MO. And what you see is their influence with the FDA that’s become totally dysfunctional. It’s just a revolving door. Work with the FDA, they go to Mary with the FDA. You know, Mary you’re only making $150,000 start with us and we’ll pay you $700,000 or something ridiculous. It’s the influence and that’s, that’s, clearly I can, when we, when we take the depositions in this case, I promise you, that’s what we’re going to find is some influence there. But they finally got around to the black box. What’s important about the black box? The FDA said, you got to have a black box. They didn’t do it willingly, Pfizer didn’t do it willingly.

Sara Papantonio:              It’s really important that we do talk about this black box warning because oftentimes consumers don’t understand what that little black box on the drug means. What it means without question is this drug is dangerous. If a consumer, if you’re, if you’re going to buy a drug and you see a black box warning on it, it means that is the last step the FDA will take until they rip that drug off the market. So turn the other way, do not take that drug if it has a black box warning on it, because it is seconds, months, you know, very quickly probably going to be taken off the market.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Okay. So you have the FDA, they’ve known all this bad stuff. I mean, they knew about the cardiac events. They knew about DVTs and blood clots, my God, the list is endless. They knew about congestive heart failure related to it. But they say, oh, all you gotta do is put a black box on there. First of all, this isn’t even a product that’s needed. This is like a, this is like a me too product. There are plenty of products that do the same thing here. Right?

Sara Papantonio:              Absolutely. There’s tons of products on the market that can be used to treat many different of arthritis and so my advice to consumers is to avoid this one, because it has been linked to so many problems. You know, we, we’ve been talking about the, the heart complications for years, but now on top of all that it’s cancer. Understand that this is a drug that suppresses the immune system. It opens the flood gates for people to develop cancer left and right and so it is just truly a dangerous drug that needs to be taken off the market.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. It’s a class drug. Let’s talk about the class, it’s called, I think it’s JAK, JAK. And what it does is it suppresses the immune system, as you say, and the other, the other things related, related to it are, look, you know what else they’re doing with this drug that we see Pfizer and other drug companies do, this drug wasn’t developed for treatment of ulcerative colitis. But they said, hey, we can make extra money by not only treating arthritis. We can also go and we can sell it for something totally, it’s called off-label, we can sell it for off-label ulcerative colitis. And so all of a sudden, this is a cash cow. These people are going to fight as long as they can to keep it on the market. You agree?

Sara Papantonio:              Absolutely. They’re going to expand every and all opportunities to get this drug on the market, to get it to patients. And that’s like, we’ve seen with this ulcerative colitis, they are expanding the use of this drug to try to make more money. Now, this is, this drug has already made, it makes about a million dollars each year. Since it’s been on the market, it’s made about $7 million, but that’s not enough for Pfizer. No, they have to expand it. They have to make more money. They have to hurt more people in the long run.

Mike Papantonio:             But then there’s Zantac, this is another Pfizer product. You know, the deal on that, pulled off the market. Testosterone products pulled off the market because they were so dangerous. Pradaxa and Xarelto. I mean, at what point does the FDA, we’re dealing with a serial offender here. What do you think?

Sara Papantonio:              Absolutely. I mean, Pfizer is the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world and look at the track record they have. It’s one drug after another being pulled off the market because it’s hurting people, it’s killing people. It is an incredibly dangerous drug. At some point, we have to take a step back and say, what, what good is this company doing? You know, what is this, what are safety precautions?

Mike Papantonio:             Well, we got a, we got a vaccine.

Sara Papantonio:              We got the vaccine.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Sara Papantonio, thank you for joining me. Okay.

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.