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Africa

Pfizer to pay out $75 million over 1996 drug trial deaths

Latest update : 2009-04-03

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will pay 75 million dollars in compensation over a 1996 drug trial that caused the death of 11 children in Nigeria, an unidentified source familiar with the negotiations said.

AFP - Pfizer has agreed to pay 75 million dollars compensation over a 1996 drug trial that caused the death of 11 children in northern Nigeria, a source close to negotiations said Friday.
  
"Pfizer has agreed to pay the sum of 75 million dollars in compensation and the Kano state government has agreed to the offer," said the source, who did not want to be identified.
  
The source said a separate 6.5-billion-dollar suit lodged against the US drug firm by the Nigerian federal government will be dropped under the terms of the settlement.
  
The Kano high court hearing the case has fixed May 25 for both the prosecution and defence lawyers to submit a detailed report on the out-of-court-settlement.
  
Kano state filed civil and criminal suits against Pfizer demanding 2.75 billion dollars in compensation, as well as the prosecution of staff, for what it said was an illegal test of the meningitis drug Trovan on 200 children in the state capital Kano.
  
The trial was carried out during a triple epidemic of measles, cholera and meningitis in which more than 12,000 people died.
  
Eleven children died after taking Trovan, which is also alleged to have caused deformities such as blindness, deafness, brain damange and paralysis in 189 others.
  
"Out of the money, 35 million dollars will go to the victims, 30 million will be used in rebuilding the Infectious Diseases Hospital where the drug trial was conducted", said the source.
  
The remaining 10 million will be used to settle legal costs incurred by the Kano state government, which is representing the victims.
  
The US pharmaceuticals giant has been locked in months of negotiations with Kano State. The talks were brokered by former US president Jimmy Carter and Nigeria’s former military leader Yakubu Gowon.
  
Pfizer has consistently denied any wrong-doing and insisted that the trial conformed to ethical practices and was carried out with the consent of the Nigerian government.

Date created : 2009-04-03

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