The FDA has warned that the use of probiotics on premature infants could have deadly side effects after a newborn died. There are now dozens of adverse event reports regarding pre-term infants and probiotics, and the FDA has gone as far as to say that companies are illegally marketing these treatments to hospitals. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio: The FDA has warned that use of probiotics on premature infants could have deadly effects, deadly side effects. Children have already died. There are now dozens of adverse events reported regarding preterm infants and probiotics. And the FDA has gone as far as telling the companies that you’re illegally marketing these treatments to hospitals and stop. Hasn’t stopped ’em, has it?

Farron Cousins: No, and the FDA hasn’t done anything either, other than that.

Mike Papantonio: No, no. They’ve sent out warning letters and then just like the FDA does, they did nothing after that. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. They send out the letter and they say, okay, there we go. We did it guys. Everybody go home happy. But no, infants, premature infants are dying and they’re dying a horrific death. Nothing but pain for these infants to the point, and this is actually another lawsuit that your firm is handling.

Mike Papantonio: We’re handling these cases, yeah.

Farron Cousins: But the stories we’ve heard are absolutely horrific. These NICU nurses saying, I had to quit my job. The screams, the whales from these infants as they’re dying from this necrotizing enterocolitis, it’s one of the worst things they’ve ever seen in their lives. They’re haunted by the screams that they heard from these dying babies.

Mike Papantonio: As you know, what it does is it dries up the bowels of the child. And as it dries up the bowels of the child, the pain is excruciating. They can’t really stop the pain other than putting the child into a coma. You’re seeing it with their milk, the so-called formula milk that is supposed to be so safe and it’s gonna make your child so healthy. And once they get ’em hooked on that, that’s good for the company. But that formula is part of the problem. Add to that, the probiotics are in that formula, so it’s like a double whammy, you know? And they’ve known for ages that you can’t give cow milk to preemies. You just can’t do it. There’s tons of literature that says it. And you have the big companies like Abbott that have known it. Their own scientists at one point told ’em, don’t do this. And the only reason they don’t make a choice to change anything is because of brand loyalty. They’re afraid if they make a change that’ll interrupt brand loyalty.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And these parents, they don’t know. I mean, these warnings that the FDA has sent to the hospitals and to the manufacturers, they’re not going to the new mothers. They’re not going to the parents. The FDA is not saying, hey, wait a minute, uh, before you give this to your child, you may wanna look at our literature. Because the FDA does nothing other than send out letters. They’ve known this for so long. People could be in jail for this. The FDA could have totally shut ’em down, banned these products, and they’re not gonna do it.

Mike Papantonio: Two things. Number one, is they never throw a white man in a suit in prison for killing people like this. Okay. They don’t get it. It could be the worst kind of manslaughter. Just like opioids killed 150 people a day. Not one of the white guys in Armani suits went to prison. It was manslaughter. It was the equivalent of drinking an entire fifth of Jack Daniels and driving 200 miles through a school zone. But nevertheless, they’re MBAs. They’re from Harvard, they’re from Yale. They got suits on so we don’t throw them in jail because we have a different system in the US. Anywhere else in the world, they’d be thrown in jail. Matter of fact, you see it all the time, Europe and Asia, these people are actually dealt with. Not here. Because we have a DOJ that has no guts. Most of the time the administration in charge of the DOJ, like this one, has no guts to push it. And so that’s why this happens. And it’s gonna continue happening until some of them are thrown in prison and they can tell the story about the fact that Joe did this 10 years ago, and he got 10 years in prison. Until we do that, this type of thing is gonna continue. Drugs, the environment, with pollution, stealing from mom and pop and pension programs. It’s all gonna continue because we won’t throw these people in jail because, well, they got a suit on. They got an MBA. They went to Harvard. They went to Yale. So we don’t throw ’em in prison.

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.