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Docs: Drug Execs Driven by Profit, Indifference to Opioid Crisis; Retired Justice Stevens Lies in Repose at Supreme Court; Equifax to Pay Up to $700 Million in Largest Breach Settlement Ever; Puerto Rico's Governor Responds to Protests Against Him; Swedish Prime Minister Tells Trump: No Special Treatment for ASAP Rocky. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired July 22, 2019 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Stunning new court documents show drug companies shipped hundreds of millions of doses of opioids to just two Ohio counties. Cuyahoga and Summit counties are at the center of a lawsuit against the makers and distributors of the powerful pain killers. Now by law, drug companies must monitor and report suspicious orders. And while the lawsuit says the companies knew about the massive drug orders, it claims they failed to report them.
CNN's Jean Casarez is following the developments for us. She's been going through all of this. There are also some really outrageous emails that were uncovered in all of this.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that is their evidence. Because they believe the emails show the state of mind, the knowledge and the intent of these people that legally are allowed to distribute opioids. And they say because of that, they have a responsibility, a responsibility that they did not care about. Let's look.
January 27th, 2009, it's an email. It is from Mallinckrodt pharmaceutical's, Victor Borelli. He shipped 1,200 bottles of oxycodone to distributor KeySource Medical overnight. Borelli's contact was Steve Cochrane.
And he writes to him. Keep 'em comin' Flynn! Flyin' out of here. It's like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh, wait, people are.
And then Borelli responds. It's just like Doritos, keep eating. We'll make more.
He's also alleged in the filing to have described his job as ship, ship, ship. Another email from Borelli.
If you are low, order more. If you are OK, order a little more. And joked that his client should actually destroy the email but then said, nah, is that really possible? Oh, well.
And that information right there is what the plaintiffs are saying that there should be a conclusion. And this is the largest case in this country so far with over 400 defendants, that they did violate the substances control act in not reporting any suspicious orders. They didn't have a plan in place to even monitor suspicious orders. That they participated because they were making money.
HILL: It is. I mean, it leaves you speechless. It really does. Jean, thank you. And I know you'll continue to stay on it as well for more developments there.
Joining us now are Travis and Shelly Bornstein. They lost their son, Tyler, to opioid addiction at the age of 23. Today they are working to raise awareness and to combat the shame and the stereotypes that can often surround addiction. And they're doing that through the organization Hope United, which they founded.
We hear what Jean just laid out for us there. Talk about laying out in stark detail. This is just like Doritos in terms of how these drugs were flooding Ohio. Travis, when you hear that, what's your reaction?
[15:35:00] TRAVIS BORNSTEIN, LOST SON TO OPIOID ADDICTION: Well, it's shocking, to be honest. It's absolutely shocking that we would have people put profits over people and flood our communities with these kinds of addicting drugs.
You know, and that's kind of what happened with my son. He had broken his right arm four times, and he had two surgeries on his right elbow. His first surgery was at age 11. And his second surgery was at age 18. And ultimately, he became addicted to the opioid prescription pain pills.
And, you know, for us, for the next five years, our life looked like relapse and recovery. Relapse and recovery. And then on September 28th of 2014, my son was in the process of overdosing, and the person he was with dumped him in a vacant lot and left him there to die. And they found him the next day. And so there is no doubt in my mind that the overprescribing of opiate prescription pain pills has led us to the worst drug epidemic in the history of our country.
HILL: And I think there are many people who would agree with you. And it certainly changed the conversation, which it needed to, in terms of what those principles prescriptions are. How much is given to people and for what. Shelly, with all of this, I know that both you and Travis have talked a little bit about initially you were ashamed. You were embarrassed. Why?
SHELLY BORNSTEIN, LOST SON TO OPIOID ADDICTION: Well, there's a certain stigma with drug addiction. And the majority of the public don't really understand. And definitely back then the public didn't understand how people were getting addicted to the pain meds. I think we're a little more aware of it now. But, yes, there's a stigma attached with addiction, whatever that addiction is.
TRAVIS BORNSTEIN: Yes, it's looked at as like a moral failure versus the disease that it is. And, you know, I keep saying, you know, as a society, we have to understand this as a chronic brain disease that it is. And as long as we think it's a moral failure, we're not going to solve this problem.
HILL: You know, I know you've also talked about we as a society needing to understand that you have to feel pain. And there does seem to be more of a conversation, as you point out, in the last couple of years. But there is also a push for you to not feel pain when you have a procedure done, whatever it may be. I've told this story before. My 7-year-old injured his arm. It wasn't broken. And he was offered one of these prescription pain killers in the ER. The fact that we don't know how to deal with pain as a society is even bigger, frankly, Travis, you've said, than just talking about prescription pain killers.
TRAVIS BORNSTEIN: Yes. So, I mean, you know, that's -- you hit it right on the head. As a society, we think we should be pain-free. And the fact is, life is not pain-free. And so what we do is, we try to mask our pain with drugs or alcohol instead of embrace the pain in our life. And the fact is -- and, you know, I don't argue for no opiates. There is certainly a part of end of life and there are times when you do need an opiate. But, you know, to give someone 40 Vicodin after they had a root canal or their wisdom teeth taken out is criminal. Is criminal.
HILL: I know, Shelly, there's always talk about what does justice look like for you, what could be different. You, though -- U.N. Travis have taken matters into your own hands. You founded Hope United. You want to help other families who are struggling with addiction. Talk to us about that work, Shelly.
SHELLY BORNSTEIN: Well, we just have a strong desire to help, where we saw the gaps that Tyler fell in on trying to seek treatment, trying to get help. We have a strong desire to help people find hope, something we never really saw during our journey. So we've kind of --
TRAVIS BORNSTEIN: Yes. I mean, just sharing our story, you know, what we learned in that, was it gave other people the opportunity to share their stories. Because our story is the story that's happening all across this country. Someone gets routinely hurt in a car accident or sports injury or so forth, and they get addicted to these opiate prescription pain pills. And so we just encourage families that there's no shame with the disease of addiction, just like there is no shame in cancer or heart disease or diabetes. And so we have to -- we have to understand it is a disease, and as Shelly said, you know, we just really want to see -- we don't ever want to see this happen to another family. And so we just try to encourage and offer hope.
HILL: Well, it is Hope United. And I think in so many ways you are offering hope to a number of people. And also giving them license to speak out and to know they're not alone. Travis, Shelly Bornstein, it is a pleasure speaking with you. Obviously, we wish it wasn't under these circumstances. But really appreciate everything you're doing. Thank you.
TRAVIS BORNSTEIN: Thank you very much.
SHELLY BORNSTEIN: Thank you. TRAVIS BORNSTEIN: We appreciate the opportunity to be here.
HILL: Just moments ago, the governor of Puerto Rico speaking out about the mass protests there, calling for his resignation. Hear why he says he will not step down.
[15:40:00] Plus, Equifax being forced to pay nearly $700 million for a massive data breach. It's the largest settlement of its kind in history. New details on what this means for your data security.
HILL: Dozens of former law clerks standing vigil there for retired Justice John Paul Stevens today. As his casket was brought in to lie in repose in the Great Hall of Supreme Court. Other justices, current and former, paying their respects in a brief ceremony.
[15:45:00] President Trump and the first lady also paid their respects this morning. Justice Stevens served the high court for nearly 35 years. He died last week at the age of 99. A private funeral will be held tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery.
If you have ever used the credit reporting company Equifax, this you will want to hear. Today we learned Equifax reached the largest-ever settlement for a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million Americans. The size of that settlement, is up to $700 million. CNN Tech reporter Brian Fung joins me now. Brian, up to $700 million. Where does that payout go, and will victims of the data breach see any of it?
BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: Well, Equifax isn't paying the $700 million up front. The first thing it's going to do is pay $300 million into a fund that will go towards refunding consumers for things like credit freezes or credit monitoring or identity theft monitoring. Services that consumers paid out of pocket for. Equifax could add another $125 million to that fund if it runs low. But, you know, right now it's just paying that $300 million up front.
It's also paying a total of $275 million to law enforcement at the state level and local level. It's also paying that fine -- part of that money to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In addition, it's also agreed to step up its review of security practices and will be subject to audits and assessments by outside, you know, regulators and evaluators. And then finally, Equifax said, you know, it will agree to give all Americans, whether or not they've been affected by the data breach or not, access to six free additional credit reports each year for the next seven years from Equifax.
That's in addition to the annual credit report that Americans are eligible for, for free from Equifax each year.
HILL: And Brian, real quickly, before we let you go, for those 147 million victims of this data breach, where would they go to sign up for, to even register, if they want to be a part of some of that funding that could be sent their way? FUNG: So this settlement still needs to be approved by a court. But
once that happens, those consumers will be able to file claims online at equifaxbreachsettlement.com. And they can also file by mail.
HILL: ALL right Brian Fung with the latest for us on that, Brian, thank you.
President Trump says he may watch a little bit of Robert Mueller's live testimony on Capitol Hill this week. Maybe. What we've learned about how Democrats are preparing behind the scenes for those back-to- back hearings.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: As we've been reporting on the massive historic protests happening right now in Puerto Rico, hundreds of thousands of people demanding an end to corruption. Also demanding the resignation of Puerto Rico's embattled governor, Ricardo Rossello. The governor himself now speaking out. In fact, here's what he told Fox News just moments ago.
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SHEPHARD SMITH, FOX NEWS HOST: Attacks on women, attacks on gays, attacks on the dead relatives of your own residents across your own island. And after that, who is left to support you? And is it even safe for you to continue to attempt to governor?
GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: Well, again, I've apologized for that. I'm -- I'm making amends for all those efforts.
SMITH: You've apologized for what specifically, Governor?
ROSSELLO: For -- for all of the comments that I've made on the chats. That is one thing. There's another effort that needs to move forward which is the battling of corruption. Look, we have implemented --
SMITH: The corruption was in within your own administration. $15.5 million and five people who were on those chats, you got rid of all of them. They are now out of the government, but you remain. Doesn't the buck stop with your office, Governor?
ROSSELLO: That's right. But I was elected by the people of Puerto Rico --
SMITH: And those people are on the streets in your biggest city today saying we want you out. That's the headline in the main newspaper. And the politicians on both sides of the political aisle on your own island are saying the exact same thing. You're a man on an island by yourself. How long can you stay there?
ROSSELLO: I am -- my effort and my commitment is to follow through on some of the efforts that I established for the people of Puerto Rico.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: The Governor did resign as President of his political party after a journalism group published leaked sexist and homophobic messages between him and members of his inner circle over the chats they were just referring to. We'll continue to stay on that. Up next, President Trump getting involved in the legal case of an American rapper arrested in Sweden. So far, though, he doesn't seem to be much help.
[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: The Swedish Prime Minister says he won't get involved in the legal case of New York rapper ASAP Rocky despite a request from President Trump. Now Rocky is facing a preliminary charge of assault after being involved in a fight in Stockholm a few weeks ago. TMZ obtained this video showing the confrontation. The rapper claims he was acting in self-defense. He is being detained, however, pending investigation. President Trump spoke about it on Friday.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many, many members of the African-American community have called me, friends of mine, and said could you help. I personally don't know ASAP Rocky, but I can tell you that he has tremendous support from the African-American community in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Trump told the Swedish Prime Minister he'd personally vouch for ASAP Rocky's bail. The Swedish legal system however doesn't offer bail. ASAP Rocky will remain in custody until the prosecutor makes a decision.
That's going to do it for us today. I'm Erica Hill in for Brooke Baldwin. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.