Friday, March 24, 2023

Q&A with Chadi Nabhan


Photo by Diana Gran Portraits



Chadi Nabhan is the author of the new book Toxic Exposure: The True Story Behind the Monsanto Trials and the Search for Justice. A physician, he testified in three trials against Monsanto over the product Roundup and its suspected links to cancer. He also is the creator and host of the Healthcare Unfiltered podcast.


Q: What inspired you to write this book about your experiences with the Monsanto trials?


A: It started by recognizing how ubiquitous the use of Roundup is and how prevalent it is in the environment and agriculture; this was coupled by getting to know the patients who were facing Monsanto; their perseverance and determination were a major inspiration to keep going.


I wanted to share the story with the entire world, so that everyone becomes aware of Roundup and what it could do. The more I knew about how Monsanto downplayed the science and refused to warn the public about the potential harmful effects of their herbicide, the more motivated I became to keep going and to continue writing.


I am inspired by the truth and the patients who demanded justice.


Q: Did you need to do additional research to write the book, or was it based completely on your own memories and experiences?


A: The majority of the book was based on my own experience in depositions, courtrooms, with lawyers, and with patients. However, I did more research to better understand the history of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and did more research on the history of pesticides.


I studied more and more about glyphosate history and expanded on why the studies that Monsanto relied on were flawed, explaining that in a way that any reader could easily understand.


Q: The author David Fajgenbaum said of the book, “As  physician and expert witness, Dr. Nabhan is the right person to share this balanced narrative with the perfect mix of medicine, science, and humanity.” What do you think of that description?


A: I am humbled by David's description of me; I appreciate his endorsement and candor. David knows how deeply I care about patients. I have always said that all of us are patients, either current ones, past ones, or future ones. When we are patients, we want our doctors to be our fiercest advocates and supporters.


While I was not a treating oncologist for any of the patients I testified on their behalf, I felt for them and did my absolute best along with the other experts to get them the justice they deserve.


To do so, I had to bring science and data to the forefront in front of judges and juries, and I had to explain the data, simplifying it, and make sure that my information resonated with everyone in the courtroom.


The human element and human connections are what got me into medicine and oncology from the get go - I share that aspect in the book with readers, and David understood this more than any other because he was a patient himself.


Q: What do you see as the legacy of these trials, and what do you see looking ahead when it comes to this type of product liability case?


A: These trials showed that David can win against Goliath; it showed that we can uncover the truth sometimes and that the honorable people win in the end.


The legacy of these trials should be that we must demand justice and defend patients and humans every time we can. These trials led to settlements and to other patients affected by Monsanto getting justice for the lymphomas they suffered from.


There were many experts that helped make this a reality, and the fact that I played a role in bringing justice to these patients is humbling and a badge of honor that I will carry with me forever. 


Moving ahead, we have scored some wins. Roundup will not be available for residential use in 2023. It will be replaced by something else; we are waiting to know what the replacement will be. More and more people are becoming aware of Roundup and of Monsanto and that is a major win.


I suspect that there will be litigation cases here and there in the future but they will be few and far between as Monsanto has settled the majority of these cases.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am writing a new book on “demystifying cancer”; I continue to see patients with cancer confused and needing guidance as they embark on the cancer journey. I am writing a book that can simplify that journey and make it more palatable.


If anything, the Monsanto trials have solidified to me the importance of explaining to laymen the science in a way that is digestible, and I hope my new book will do just that: be a guide for the people that need it the most - our patients. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I appreciate your interest in the book and the story. The book is about the patients and their fights, but it does explain the science from my lens and how I reached the conclusions I reached.


I'll end by saying that we should all acknowledge that science evolves and we should be humble to adjust our views based on emerging science. Decades ago, we thought tobacco was safe, and we know now that it is not; in my opinion, this is what's happening with Roundup. We thought it was safe, and in my opinion, science now tells us differently.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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