America’s Lawyer E63: One of the top credit-rating agencies in the country recently downgraded the United States’ credit – and both Republicans and Democrats are blaming the other side. But there’s plenty of blame to go around. As the state of Hawaii is still reeling from the devastating Maui wildfires, new evidence is emerging that the state’s main power company could be to blame for the death and destruction of the past week. And more reports are coming in about the dangers of popular weight loss drugs – we’ll bring you the latest details. All that, and more is coming up, so don’t go anywhere – America’s Lawyer starts right now.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: Hi, I’m Mike Papantonio and this is America’s Lawyer. One of the top credit rating agencies in the country recently downgraded the United States credit, and both Republicans and Democrats are blaming the other side. But there’s plenty, plenty of blame to go around. As the state of Hawaii is still reeling from the devastating Maui wildfires, new evidence is emerging that the state’s main power company has a lot to do with this catastrophe. And more reports are coming in about the dangers of popular weight loss drugs. We’ll bring you the latest details. All that and more is coming up. Don’t go anywhere. America’s Lawyer starts right now.
The United States recently had its credit rating downgraded. It’s a decision that could have sprawling financial impacts on the average American. But rather than working to fix the problem, both Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other for the downgrade. I have Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joining me. Probably the best, absolutely the best progressive commentator in the business. That’s what I think of you, I actually think you are the best commentator in this business.
Farron Cousins: That means a lot. Thank you.
Mike Papantonio: So I wanna know what your take is on this. I see it looks like a food fight, doesn’t it? Fitch says, look, we haven’t downgraded you. Biden is, it’s like musical chairs. Biden is the guy that’s in charge when this happens. He’s, you know, and all of a sudden the Democrats say, no, this is, this was Trump. This happened because of January 6th, two and a half years ago. And understand, they do these ratings like quarterly.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: So if it would’ve been January 6th, I think they would’ve downgraded by now. Let’s talk about it though.
Farron Cousins: It is funny because when happened, you know, all the liberal sites I checked, they all say, look at this, Republicans, it’s January 6th. They’re responsible for this. Their attempted shutdown of the government. It did this. You look at the conservative media sites, oh, look what the Democrats have done with the spending, the outta control spending. So both sides have said, it’s not us, it’s these guys.
Mike Papantonio: But let’s go to what they said. Let’s go to what Fitch said. I mean, let’s, and then talk about it. Fitch said, look, it is, they made a list and it is spending. It was one of the, Fitch is one, first of all, Fitch is one of the big three credit ratings. It’s an important story. They expected fiscal deterioration over the next several years. That was in there. High government deficit burden because of crazy spending. And that’s Republicans and Democrats spending like drunk sailors on a weekend, you can’t say that was just Democrats. Republicans had to vote for it too. They had the right to stop it if they didn’t want to do it. Last minute resolutions on debt limits. Children in a food fight. All, well, let’s wait till the last minute to see if we still are in business. And deterioration of governance. But, you know, deterioration of governance is pretty evident. They can’t even be in a room without like being children fighting over nothing. Everything’s so tribal and divided. Fitch looks at it and says, my God, who is, it looks like Home Alone. We’re not interested in a Home Alone series. Right?
Farron Cousins: Well, and I think it may be the last thing on the list, but I really think that is the most important because that is the one that represents the worst trend that we see right now in politics. It is almost impossible for Democrats to get Republicans to go along with their legislation or Republicans to get Democrats to go. Nobody wants to work with the other side because it has become more tribal. And you and I have been doing this for over 20 years, we haven’t seen it like this. Even during the bush years, we did not have this much of a divide in Congress.
Mike Papantonio: You know what I think is funny? We have comments that come through our staff. Our staff shows us a comment every now and then. And the comment is, you got me and they got you. Now, first of all, we’re friends. We disagree with a lot of things, but we don’t yell at each other. We respect each other. And the people can’t stand that. When I say something that might sound middle of the road, they say, by God, Farron, why didn’t you jump in there and beat him up? Because that’s not how it ought to go. We ought to be able to carry on a conversation. But these numb nuts, these, I don’t know how else to describe it, absolute numb nuts, believe that everything has to be conflict. And that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: You’re saying that in politics, that’s where we are right now. And Fitch said, that’s dysfunctional. That’s a lack of governance. Along with the fact that you’re wasteful spending. Along with the fact that you have $10 trillion in new spending. Along the fact you’re buying bombs for Ukraine like it’s yesterday, you know, like you’ve gone crazy. We’re just in this situation where Fitch looks at the whole picture and says, this scares the hell out of us and we’re gonna downgrade you.
Farron Cousins: Yeah. And about that whole, the tribalism thing, we’ve always seen that with the public. You know, it’s something you and I have had dealt with the whole time we’ve been doing this. But this is really one of the first times we’ve seen it this bad in Congress. And that’s where it becomes this really big problem. And people have to understand when our credit rating gets downgraded as a country, that means other countries are not going to wanna buy up our debt. It could drive up our interest rates, pricing you out of buying a car or a house, or even a refrigerator. This will impact not the people in DC causing it. This will impact you and you the consumer, you the voter, at some point you have to look at the decisions you’re making every time you step in that polling booth and I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but y’all have to take responsibility for what you’re voting for.
Mike Papantonio: Oh, absolutely. And the other part of the responsibility is too, don’t dare send a comment to this site and say, Pap, why didn’t you jump on Farron about this? Farron, why didn’t you jump on Mike? Because we’re not frigging children. Because we can think, we don’t think like a five-year-old. That’s why we don’t do that. But unfortunately, the general public, it’s all tribal. Oh my God, he said this, why didn’t you beat the hell out of him about it? That’s the mentality out there right now. And it’s all a reflection of what’s happening in Washington. And Fitch sees it and it scares the hell of Fitch.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Hunter Biden and it’s the same prosecutor that’s already been investigating Biden for the last five years. I see this as, you know what, wrong or right, you have armed the Republicans with so much, haven’t you? I mean, why would you do this? Why would Merrick Garland say, okay, I’m going to appoint Weiss who oh, by the way, waited five years to do anything. Let statute of limitations intentionally run on a whole series of decisions. And oh, by the way, worked out a sweetheart deal that in trial we learned wasn’t even real. And you’re gonna say, okay, we’re gonna let that guy do the investigation. Common sense tells you, you have handed the Republicans so much to talk about and this now becomes a major election issue going into 2024. And it shouldn’t be, it should not be. Right?
Farron Cousins: Right. It was a very weird decision by Garland just to begin with. Because Weiss, according to Garland, approached him last Tuesday and says, hey, now I want to be the special prosecutor. Give me these special powers. I’ve hit a dead end and I can only continue if I do this. I’ve been at it for five years, but I’m, I swear I’m like right there closing in. And Garland just says, meh, I don’t even care.
Mike Papantonio: No, it was almost like, you hit it on the head, Farron. It’s almost like, what the hell? Sure.
Farron Cousins: Merrick Garland has been a very absentee attorney general. He doesn’t seem to want to do anything himself. He doesn’t want to make any of these decisions that he’s made. He almost does it begrudgingly. Look, they could have appointed a special prosecutor that wasn’t Weiss a long time ago to look into this. I mean, this again, began under the Trump administration. If y’all thought it was a big deal, put a special prosecutor on it.
Mike Papantonio: What the hell? What do they care if this dirt bag goes to prison for violating the law? Why do you now invite it into daddy’s world in the middle of an election? And that’s what the GOP did. Now Merrick Garland, he would’ve been the same person on the Supreme Court that would not have known what, had no sense of what’s really going on. I don’t think I have this wrong. I don’t think I have it wrong when I say like it or not, they let him go. They let, intentionally let statute of limitations run. They waited five years to do anything. They worked out a sweetheart deal, which was ridiculous by any standard. And now they say, you’re the guy that did all that, and now you’re gonna be the special. I mean, in 30 seconds, you can just obliterate the other side with that. And they just invited it. I don’t know why. It’s almost like they didn’t think. What about the FARA? Have we even gotten to the FARA part of this?
Farron Cousins: No. And that may actually be what Weiss was referring to when he says, I need the additional powers because I can’t reach into these areas of it without them. So that could be, my best guess is that’s where he’s trying to go with it. And if that’s the case, again, totally fine.
Mike Papantonio: I hope, if that’s where he goes, everything I just said is wrong. If that’s where he goes, I apologize for everything I just said, because he would be showing some character, he’d be showing some class and he would save Biden from the onslaught that Biden’s gonna experience because of this crazy mix up that we have going here.
Farron Cousins: But I will say, you know, you brought up the fact Merrick Garland the whole that he was gonna be on the Supreme Court. Now look, we both disagree with what Mitch McConnell did holding that seat, but we both did segments at the time when Obama appointed Garland, or nominated him.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah, nominated him.
Farron Cousins: Talking about how weak this guy was. How pro-corporate this guy was. How anti-environment this guy was.
Mike Papantonio: He, your, I remember your position was he was asleep then. He was letting corporations run over Americans. He was letting corporations run over the environment. You did your own segments on farronbalanced on it. And the truth is, you were right. Now we’re seeing it with the AG, you know, we’re seeing the same thing with the AG. So, I don’t know. I think it’s a bad mistake. I just think all you’re doing is arming the other side. We’ll see.
An autistic teenager in the UK was recently violently hauled away by seven police officers after she made a comment about one of the officers, she said, you know, are you a lesbian like my nana? That comment caused this crazy violent reaction from these nutcase officers who wanted to charge the teenager under the UK’s anti homophobia laws. When you watch this film, it’s the most disgusting thing I think I’ve ever seen in my life. This is an autistic child with spinal, her spine is injured. She’s sitting in a corner crying, can’t even understand. All I said was that this officer was a lesbian like my grandma. Okay. And in UK you can’t speak words like that. And here’s the ugly part. It’s coming to America.
TikTok @nikitasnow84: She’s autistic. Can you stop staring at her please? She’s got autism. Can you just stand there? She’s in a cupboard. She can’t go anywhere. She can’t go anywhere. Stand there. We’ll have cops come in and remove her anyways. They’re gonna remove her for what? Come off it. She said the word lesbian. Her nana is a lesbian. She’s married to a woman. She’s not on the phone. Look with you clenching your feet. Go away from my teenage daughter.
Farron Cousins: This was truly disgusting. I mean, look, America already has half that story with the police abuse.
Mike Papantonio: Yes. Yes.
Farron Cousins: So we’re just waiting for the other half of it. But this was truly disturbing because you had seven police officers dragging this 16 year old autistic teenager with scoliosis out of the house, threatening her. The mom is upset, crying. The teenager’s crying. And eventually, after all said and done, the UK police said, oh, okay, well actually, it turns out you didn’t really violate the law. Super sorry about all the problems you had.
Mike Papantonio: But the ugly part is they have a law that would permit you to be arrested if you insult somebody for being a homosexual, if you insult them. So free speech is dead. Whether you agree with that or not, I’m not suggesting that’s okay to do. But you don’t have a frigging law where you put people in jail. You don’t have a law where you drag a child like this that is autistic. This is a sad, sad film. And when you watch it as we’re watching it, you can see how crazy this is. Why these officers still have a job, I have no idea. Only because there’s this crazy movement in the UK to make speech impossible. And you know what? It’s coming to the United States, like it or not.
Farron Cousins: Well, and that’s the thing. We disagree with it. We hate it. We don’t want to hear those kinds of things whatsoever. But we also understand that this kind of abuse here happened because of this law that was then misconstrued and misinterpreted to the point where, oh, you said the word lesbian referring to somebody else. Now we’re gonna beat the hell out of you. That’s where this goes. That’s why you can’t police that kind of speech.
Mike Papantonio: I took a look at the crime problem they have. Violence and rape have driven to huge numbers in the UK. I mean, serious, serious crime. And you’ve got, how many officers was it, 6?
Farron Cousins: Seven.
Mike Papantonio: Seven officers. They’re spending dragging this girl away screaming. Oh, by the way, they put her in a prison cell for 20 hours, left her in the cell for 20 hours and at the end said, oh, well, you know, we’re gonna let you go. Misunderstanding. We’re not gonna press charges. This woman needs to sue the hell, needs to sue the hell out of them personally, the officers personally and the department. I hope she wins. God, I hope she wins. Because when this starts taking off, it’s just ubiquitous. It starts happening, well, already Sweden’s dealing with it. Paris, France is dealing with it. Norway’s dealing with it. All these countries that have said, we are going to, we’re gonna be the nanny for you, and we’re gonna tell you what you can and can’t say. This is a great example of how ugly it gets.
In the city of New Orleans, more than 300 Catholic church employees, including priests, have been accused of sexually abusing children in the past few decades. But the diocese ignored roughly 75% of these complaints keeping the alleged abuser in the same position or moving ’em to the next church. So classic for the Catholic church, which I have called, declared a cult. You know, I don’t know how else to describe it. When you do the checklist, it’s a cult. No different than Scientology or Mormons. Anyway, go ahead.
Farron Cousins: Yeah. This, if you heard, okay, you got 300 cases of abuse with the Catholic church, that’s a big number. But people might think, oh, well you’re talking about across the country. We are talking about in New Orleans, Louisiana, we’re talking about one city, a tiny little microcosm of this entire Catholic church. 300 reports of children telling, this person at the church sexually abused me. And the church in over 75% of those cases said, don’t worry, mom and dad we’re on it. They do their phony investigation. They ask the priest, well, did you do this? No, of course not. Well, case closed. I guess there’s nothing to see here. They don’t tell the other children at that church. They don’t tell the parents. Nobody is warned that these priests are doing or engaging in this behavior. The police are not contacted. Nothing. They take the priest’s word. It’s the gospel truth. The priest can’t lie. And the abuse continues to this day.
Mike Papantonio: Something we’ve talked about in the past, it doesn’t make any difference how many reports there are, nobody’s prosecuted. I mean, there’s been a few prosecutions, but this many compared to this many offenses. And it’s because the system is broken. The criminal justice system is broken most of the time on cases like this. There’s three cases I think they’re worth talking about. Patrick Wattigny, two minors through his work, sexually abused two minors and was caught later. And had to plead to it. Wheeler III, ordained deacon, a whole string of problems like this. And what they did with both these guys, they just moved them to the next place. They just say, you know, we heard Mr., we heard Patrick, that you’re having problems where it comes to interaction with children. You’re molesting children.
That’s okay. We’re gonna move you to the next place. It gotten so bad with the Catholic church that this actually moved to bankruptcy court. Now think about that. They have, you’ve been to the Vatican? You know, you walk in the Vatican, you see gold and silver everywhere. You see naked little boy cherubs all over the walls, which you ask the question, what the hell is that about? And then you see gold and silver just in the Vatican, there’s enough to pay for all these claims. Right? But this church ends up going to bankruptcy court. And you know why? Because the Vatican did an analysis and said, hey, if you can make it to bankruptcy court, it’s only gonna cost us seven and a half million dollars. And that’s a good deal for us because the actual value should be about a hundred million dollars.
Make it to bankruptcy court and get protection there. That’s what they did here. And again, it’s inescapable. You walk through the Vatican and you go, okay, my God, you’re looking around and you realize that most of it’s paid for by moderate people sending in their $20 or the $10 to pay to make sure that this place looks like it does. There is nothing in the gospel at all that talks about celibacy. There’s not a thing in the gospel that says, hey, I think it’s gonna be really important that we put a bunch of guys together in a monastery up on a mountain and not allow ’em to be married. There’s nothing that anywhere in the Bible that says you ought to do that. But for somehow that’s become part of the Catholic cult. And it’s very much a part of the Catholic cult.
Farron Cousins: It is. And look, I grew up in the Catholic church.
Mike Papantonio: I don’t mean to offend you, but that’s just what I think.
Farron Cousins: Look, I did many years as an altar boy, I never had any issues. But thinking back on that, during my time there, and I went to Catholic school for a little bit, all the interaction that these priests have with the children, it is much more than people think. The access that they have to children to be predators is so bad. If you’re not a part of the Catholic church or if you weren’t when you were a child, you don’t even understand how much time these priests have, how much access, how much privacy. It is so, I mean, it creeps me out to look back on it and think about these things and realize the situations that could have been horrible, if I were around predators.
Mike Papantonio: I grew up very active as a Methodist. I’m still very active in my religious life. But you know what, you always wait for the shoe to drop. I don’t think there’s a difference. It’s a pervasive issue. And it’s not just Catholic. It just, but this is one that seems to surface again, and again and again.
Farron Cousins: It attracts those kinds of people. And that’s what the church needs to figure out is why are we attracting these people?
Mike Papantonio: That’s right.
Farron Cousins: We’re not attracting men who are called to serve God. We’re attracting men who are called to serve their own selfish interests.
Mike Papantonio: Well, you have a broad education and you have good religious education. Is there any, am I missing something? Is there something in the Bible that says, look, we wanna put a bunch of guys together in robes on a monastery at top of a mountain because, because, you know. That’s where the cult started. Read Constantine’s Sword sometime. It will freak you out. Constantine’s Sword, it’s a great book. I think they made a, might have made a documentary out of it.
Roughly a hundred people have been confirmed to have perished in the recent wildfire in Maui with countless more still unaccounted for and new reports suggest that this tragedy could have been avoided, should have been avoided, at least to some degree, had the power company simply shut off electricity when their power lines were being snapped like twigs by high winds. This is, you know, we’ve lived through a lot of catastrophe. We’re in Hurricane Ville right here. How many hurricanes have you lived through?
Farron Cousins: Oh God. Seven, eight at this point.
Mike Papantonio: I’ve lost contact. This is worse than anything we’ve ever lived through. I can’t even, you know, people were escaping to the water saying, I can live, if I can stay in this water, they’re disappearing. We don’t even know where they are. All types of horror stories coming out of this. At this point, there’s more than hundred deaths that they know of. And this was all avoidable. Lay this case out, it’s a disturbing case.
Farron Cousins: Yeah. For anybody who’s not aware of the situation prior to the fire, California had been going through, not storms, just very, very intense winds. Almost, you know, like a hurricane minus the rain. And those winds came through in very dry conditions, you know, the heat has been off the charts just like most of the world. So we’ve got dry conditions and the wind snaps the power lines. The photos before the fire are overwhelming. You see all the power lines across the roads, residents telling stories of hearing all the snapping, it sounded like thunder. But it was just the power lines falling down. So at that point, you’ve got electrical cords from the power lines all over the place in dry brush, just waiting to start a fire. And these company or Hawaiian Electric did not shut off the power.
Mike Papantonio: They have a parent company, but Hawaiian Electric is a co-op. The interesting thing about this, there’s some great invest, I think you have private lawyers doing a great job, Sergio Rufo. Sergio Rufo is a very talented claimant’s lawyer. He’s on Honolulu, but he has the ability to put people on the ground and do investigations. The investigations are finding witnesses. Okay. The witnesses are saying, look, there’s no question here. One part, you know, in diverse parts of where this fire converged, witnesses are saying, I saw the poll snap. I saw the first sparks. Now the system after the first sparks is supposed to stop. And it probably worked to that degree, but they had a system that they should have been total shut down. It’s called a public power shutoff plan. Most people, most states and counties and, you know, utility organizations have this in place.
They have it in place because they saw what happened in California in 2018 where a hundred people died because you had a bunch of incompetent boobs running both government and running the power companies. And so, you know, hundreds, hundreds of people in that situation, well, thousands actually lost property. But in this situation, they were put on notice. They knew the problem. California was right there. They saw, they understood it. There was even, you’re gonna find, there was even discussion about it at the meetings where the power company says, shouldn’t we adjust to this? They didn’t adjust, did they?
Farron Cousins: No. No. And the power company even admits already via spokesperson. They say, listen, if we had shut the power off, so clearly they knew that it was an option, the poor firefighters, they wouldn’t have been able to access the water because that runs on electricity. But the question is, okay, but had you turned the power off, we probably wouldn’t have needed the water to put the fires out that your power lines caused in the first place.
Mike Papantonio: You know what’s gonna happen here? It’s the same thing that happened in California. They’re gonna say, oh, we’re gonna investigate it. Okay. Right off the bat, we start hearing discussion about, well, there were some arsonists. Okay, let’s assume there was. In this situation, the experts say that there were diverse strike points and those diverse strike points converged and that created this problem. So don’t, they did the same thing in California, you know, PG&E the power company there said, well, no, this wasn’t us, this was arsonists. We’re gonna do an investigation. You know what happened in California? You had a couple of leaders, Steve Skikos out there, wonderful lawyer, that did investigations and found out what was going on. You got Sergio Rufo there in Honolulu that my prediction is we’re gonna find out more from him than we are from the government.
But at any rate, this case to me is critically important because it’s a classic case of a government, a quasi government. You understand? Let’s say that the power company themselves didn’t make the decision. If you’re government, don’t you go to them and say, you’re gonna do this, or you’re not gonna do business with us? Don’t you do that?
Farron Cousins: Absolutely.
Mike Papantonio: But in this case, it’s even more complicated. They had one of the most sophisticated warning systems in the world for tsunamis that, you know, they were concerned about tsunamis. So they had an extremely sophisticated system and they never used it.
Farron Cousins: No, they didn’t. And I think you bring up a great point here, you know, with California as the leading example, what happened in California, because of the work of people like Skikos, is California then did go and they amended their laws. They changed the thing. They put the action plan in place to cut the power when these events happened. But that wouldn’t have happened had the lawyers not come in and held these folks accountable. If there is no accountability, which at this point only comes from the lawsuits, they won’t change. It’s the same story throughout all of corporate America. Without the lawsuits, they’ll never change.
Mike Papantonio: We’re gonna take the lead from Sergio Rufo and work with him on this. He’s got an incredible experience level, great history, but my prediction is that private lawyers like Sergio Rufo are going to find out what really happened here through eyewitnesses. Hopefully do an ad campaign. Say, if you’re a witness to this, give me a call. We wanna know what happened. That’s what happened in California. It wasn’t this investigation that was done by the government. I can promise you that. Farron, thanks for joining me. Okay.
Farron Cousins: Thank you.
Mike Papantonio: Drugs that have been developed to help treat diabetes are now being pushed by drug companies and doctors as a great way for patients to lose weight. But what patients aren’t being told is that the threat is so serious of permanent injury, even the possibility of death. New reports keep coming in from individuals who’ve been harmed by these, this class of treatment. I have attorney Cameron Stephenson with me to talk about it. Cameron, every now and then we see a drug company come into the market. They absolutely know that the drug that they’re selling off-label is a drug that has propensity not just to harm people, but to kill people. Fen-Phen, we saw it with Fen-Phen. It was incredible. Everybody was taking Fen-Phen and people were dying of heart disease, a slow, ugly death. Hundreds and hundreds of women. This is looking very similar to me.
Cameron Stephenson: Pap, we have a problem here and I gotta tell you, this is something that I predict within the next 12 to 24 months is gonna get even worse. So let me tell you what you’ve got. You’ve got this poster child pharma industry company, Novo Nordisk. Okay. They have developed these three drugs, Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus. They developed these drugs allegedly for a very specific patient population. Okay. It was supposed to be approved only for diabetics and only for people with severe obesity. The issue is that that’s just what they told the FDA. All right. Make no mistake, Novo Nordisk knew when they developed these drugs that they were gonna go after a much larger population. The idea was to be first, to get it approved with the FDA and to get it out on the market. And immediately they start promoting off-label, start marketing off-label for people that are outside of this very narrow patient population.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. So let me talk about off-label just a second. We always see when a drug is out there and the drug company says, well, you know, we only have a limited number of people we can sell this to. What if we expand it? What if we make it bigger? Here’s what they do. They say to the detailer, detailers the person goes around and talks to the doctor. Most of the time they show up with cupcakes and a cake, or they take ’em to lunch and they say, doc, you know what? We have these drugs that are for diabetics. They can save the life of a diabetic. But you know, you could also use it for people who wanna lose weight. What person in this world doesn’t wanna say, that aren’t gonna bite it on that? Right?
Cameron Stephenson: So you’ve got these people that think that they need to lose 15 or 20 or 25 pounds. They see these celebrities over in Hollywood that are getting on these magic pills. They think they’re gonna be able to get on for 30 days, lose weight and get off of it, and everything’s gonna be fine. That is not what’s happening, Pap. These people were not warned about what these drugs can cause. They were never intended for your average run of the mill person that needs to lose 10 or 15 pounds. And what happens is they’re getting on these drugs, they get off these drugs, and they have what’s known as gastroparesis. Okay. This is paralyzing your stomach. Now let’s think about this. You eat a meal, the meal goes into your stomach and rather than it pass naturally through the gastrointestinal tract, this paralyzes your stomach.
So food is rotting in your stomach. Alright. It’s going to come out one of two ways. You’re gonna vomit five or 10 times a day to where it gets so bad the gastric acid in your stomach is dissolving your teeth to where they fall out. Okay. That’s number one. Number two, you have what’s known as a gastric obstruction, and you actually have to go to the emergency room and have your stomach pumped. And Pap, I mean, I read an intake yesterday where a young lady, about 26 years old was trying to lose about 18 pounds. Okay. She has a gastric obstruction. She goes into the hospital, she has to have her stomach pumped, but that’s not the end of it. She has permanent stomach paralysis. And she may now, if this lasts for the rest of her lifetime, need an NG tube or fluid feeding to get nutrition that you and I take for granted on a daily basis.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. First of all, two things, Cameron, I want, the viewers have to know this. First of all, your experience as a trial lawyer is extraordinary. You’re one of the best trial lawyers we have in house. Second of all, the cases you’ve worked are massive. You’ve worked the J&J talc case, you’ve worked PPI, you’ve worked a whole string of some of the most important pharmaceutical cases in the country. Now I wanna ask you this question. When you look at this case, compared to the stuff that you’ve worked, how do you rate it as far as seriousness?
Cameron Stephenson: It is as good as any of them.
Mike Papantonio: As serious, as serious as.
Cameron Stephenson: The injuries, like I said, the story that I just told you is serious. This case has the potential to be one of the biggest cases that I’ve ever worked on. I think that this case has the potential to be one of the biggest cases that our firm has worked on. We’re gonna have to see how this plays out because these people are just now getting injured. We have no idea what’s gonna happen in the next 20 to, you know, in the next one to two years. But if I could leave you with one other thing, Pap.
Mike Papantonio: Well, you can leave me with, we’re gonna talk about, the viewers need to know, before we get to that, let me ask a couple of questions. What the company did is they tried to mimic what they call the GLP enzyme. It’s an enzyme that helps your stomach slow down so you can get nutrition as you’re eating. In other words, if you eat, you want to slow it down a little bit because you have to absorb the nutrition.
Cameron Stephenson: Correct.
Mike Papantonio: So they mimic that it’s a hormone. They mimic that and they slowed it down way too much. The test that I’ve seen, and I’m sure you’ve seen the same tests, is when they ran a comparison. This is a person that’s taking these drugs. This is a person who isn’t. The regular movement through the bowels was four minutes natural compared to 70 minutes. And so what you’re saying is that if it doesn’t move through the bowels, it simply just clogs your system up.
Cameron Stephenson: Correct.
Mike Papantonio: And we’re even seeing cases, aren’t we, where women are saying, you know, I feel full all the time, and when they do an endoscopy, they say, yeah, because you have food all the way up almost to your mouth. That’s been stored
Cameron Stephenson: Exactly. And so the bigger issue there, Pap, is not only does it delay it, but they did not test it enough and do the adequate clinical trials to get a full statistically significant sample size. So when you say it delays it 70 minutes, what a very significant patient population is seeing is that it takes hours. It takes days. Some people have permanent stomach paralysis. And if I can go back to just one thing, I whenever I was following this company announced first quarter earnings about six weeks ago, their stock was up 15% in one day.
Mike Papantonio: Wow.
Cameron Stephenson: That is one training session. And if you compare that in context to the average annualized return of the S&P 500, the 500 best companies that we have is 8% a year. They did 15% in one day. And whenever, even their own executives were on CNBC, Pap, they were talking about how they shattered Wall Street’s expectations about earnings per share. Because this class of drugs, these three drugs, they were writing prescriptions like they didn’t even anticipate. And guess what that means? When you compare the amount of prescriptions that they’re writing, not that they’re writing, but the amount of prescriptions that are being sold by this company’s products, the patient population that the FDA approved these drugs for, the amount of prescriptions that are being sold are multiples of what the patient population is. So you know off-label promotion and marketing is occurring.
Mike Papantonio: It’s all off-label. And the detailers, they get paid bonuses according to how many drugs they sell. So they show up at the doctor, I’m not kidding, it’s these little cutesy perky types. Show up with cupcakes, doc, happy birthday. Oh, by the way, you can use this as a diet drug. What doctor, first of all, there’s a couple problems here. Any doctor in America right now should be on notice, stop doing that doc.
Cameron Stephenson: 100%.
Mike Papantonio: Do not tell your patients this is safe. And if people watching this are going to a doctor and their doctor said, oh yeah, don’t worry about it. That’s just a bunch of nonsense. Look, let me tell you something. I’ve watched your career, I watched you handle one of the, the Johnson and Johnson talc case. And one thing that I’ve heard you talking about is that these companies, they look at how much money are we gonna make? Are we gonna make $10 billion a year on this drug? Right?
Cameron Stephenson: Yes.
Mike Papantonio: Now, the company makes $10 billion and they say, you know, at the end of the day, after we hurt all these people, we only have to pay $3 billion. So we have a net of $7 billion every year that we’ve made. And so that’s how these companies think. It’s a ghoulish analysis. And unfortunately, when you dig into this, I know you’re gonna be one of the people trying these cases, when you dig into it, are you gonna find that the clinicals were gamed? That the clinicals were hustled to make it look like this is not a problem? That’s my prediction.
Cameron Stephenson: Time and time again, in these cases, your prediction is gonna end up being correct. They are designed to limit the ability to detect certain things, plain and simple. And when you’re talking about profits over people, Mike, you’ve been doing this for decades, right? I’ve been doing it for 15 years. This is not the first chapter of big pharma profits over people. It sure as hell isn’t gonna be the last chapter. This is the next chapter.
Mike Papantonio: Serious injury, people can die, people’s lives can be changed. We don’t even know where this gut paralysis goes at this point. We have no epidemiology to understand how serious it is. These women that are saying, well, this is gonna go away. Maybe not. Probably not. And if they’re not calling somebody right now, and if they’re not telling their doctor, you know what, doc, you really dropped the ball on me. Any doctor, I’m telling you, any doctor at this point, that is saying, yes, use this for weight loss. They are a malpractice target when a client goes, when it goes bad with a client.
Cameron Stephenson: 100%. I think just like the American public, you know, the sheet was pulled over their eyes. But at this point in time, you can’t just pretend this isn’t happening.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Well, I’m glad you’re working on it. I really honestly feel like you’re one of the best trial lawyers in the business. You’ve got great experience. Bring this one home. Okay.
Cameron Stephenson: I will do, Pap. I appreciate you having me.
Mike Papantonio: Yep. That’s all for this week. But all these segments are gonna be available throughout the next week. And make sure you follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell the stories that corporate media, well, they won’t tell you because they’re advertisers, they don’t let ’em tell those stories or their political connections don’t allow for it. We’ll see you next time.