The DOJ has launched an investigation into Abbott over contaminated baby formula that killed two infants. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.

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

Mike Papantonio: The DOJ was launched, they, they’ve launched this investigation into Abbott over contaminated baby formula that killed two infants. But this story’s much bigger than that. It’s also the NEC story that you’ve covered. You did a story on NEC. Matter of fact, my daughter in this law firm is handling that case. It’s a huge case against Abbott. Let’s talk about this one.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Right now, and it’s, you know, 12 months after the fact, the DOJ finally says, okay, we’re gonna look into what happened. But last February, of course, we had Abbott industries pull their baby formula off the market after two infants died after ingesting it because it was contaminated with bacteria.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: And a year before those deaths happened, you had a whistleblower at the company come forward and say, there is bacteria all over this. These are unsafe conditions. We’re putting out a dangerous product. So 24 months after the whistleblower came forward, our DOJ finally says, all right, I guess we gotta do something here. And they’ll do nothing in the end.

Mike Papantonio: Well, yeah. It’s, it’s the same story. I, I sometimes I get tired of talking about how dysfunctional the DOJ is. It’s just a joke. It’s just like the regulatory SEC, it’s just like the reg. I mean, go, go watch the Bernie Maddow, this last movie they made on Bernie Maddow to understand how dysfunctional these folks that we believe are looking over everybody’s shoulder and doing the right thing. It, the SEC, you may as well not even have it. FDA, it’s a joke. EPA, my God. Really? What it’s become. So this is one of those stories where all this is avoidable, wasn’t it?

Farron Cousins: It, it really was. And here’s the thing too, and this is, I kind of, I’m, you know, gonna give you a hell of a lot of praise here and, and all the other attorneys, the DOJ will look at the same cases you look at, and the DOJ will say, oh, well, uh, we’re not gonna end up doing anything about this. We don’t really think there was anything super bad with it. They’ve learned their lesson, whatever it is. But then you can go to court, you’ll beat the hell out of these people and you’ll win hundreds of millions.

Mike Papantonio: And then they’ll do something, maybe.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. But it takes you, it takes these other lawyers from across the country to actually hold these people accountable for the DOJ to finally say, okay, I guess we have to, because now we look like idiots.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Because all these other great lawyers were able to hold these people accountable.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. I think what it is, is the DOJ has a tendency to go after low hanging fruit. If it’s not easy, they’re not gonna do it. The other part of this story, maybe they’ll take this more seriously, is that the Abbott and some other folks that make baby formula understand that you cannot give preemie babies cow’s milk. Because what, what it’ll do is has, it will, it can shut down their entire gastrointestinal system. It dries it up.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: To where it’s like paper and these kids die. And these cases are so bad, as we’ve talked about on another show, is that the nurses who are working in these pediatric settings with preemies, they end up quitting because they can’t stand to, to hear the cries and the suffering of these children.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: It’s, it’s so excruciating. It’s such excruciating pain they almost have to put ’em into a coma.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And, and, and it is, it is a painful death that takes a long time to happen. These nurses are emerging almost with PTSD.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: From their experience with these infants who they’re watching die and they can do nothing about it. And it, it, you know, based on what we know, it, it sure as hell looks like these companies knew.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, they did.

Farron Cousins: This was happening.

Mike Papantonio: There’s zero, Farron, there’s zero questions. The documents are always coming, they knew. They had every reason, the literature showed them. Epidemiology showed them. Their in-house documents show it. They had every reason to know it. But what they were doing is they were trying to build brand loyalties, crazy, crazy angle. But they understood that if you can build brand loyalty with a formula at a very young age, that that goes on for about six or seven years.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: With, with the, with the baby foods that you sell. And that’s what this was about. So they were telling these nurses, yeah, give them this stuff. The nurses saying, you know, I don’t, I don’t want to. And the doctors were ordering them to do it.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. They’d make the deals with the hospitals to pretty much be the exclusive.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. To buy exclusive in big, in big amounts. So this Abbott story, we’re, we’re gonna be, we’re, we’re going after Abbott in a really big way. More on the NEC story.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: With, it’s an awful story.

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.