by Tanya Thomas on  July 29, 2009 at 10:26 AM Medico Legal News
 Pfizer Settles Nigerian Drug Trial Law Suit
US drugmaker Pfizer and Nigeria's northern Kano state have clinched a final out-of-court settlement over the 1996 drug trials that led to the deaths of 11 children, lawyers said Monday.

The agreement, which is due to be inked on Thursday in Nigeria, was formally announced in court on Monday, lawyers from both sides said, without giving details of the amounts involved.

"I told the court this morning that we have settled this case with Pfizer. We are signing the out-of-court agreement on July 30 at noon in Nigeria," Aliyu Umar, the victims' lawyer, told AFP.

"Once the agreement is signed the case will be terminated," said Umar, who is also Kano State justice commissioner.

"Yes, we have agreed on the out-of-court settlement and we will sign the agreement on Thursday," confirmed Pfizer lawyer Anthony Idigbe.

"With that, the case will formally be withdrawn," he told AFP.

The two sides will return to court on August 6 to have the charges formally withdrawn.

A source close to the negotiations said Pfizer has agreed to pay 35 million dollars compensation to the victims, 10 million dollars to the state for litigation expenses and five million dollars for the rehabilitation of Kano's now delapidated infectious diseases hospitals, where the drug trials were conducted 13 years ago.

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 trials were 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.

The US pharmaceuticals giant had 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 wrongdoing and insisted that the drug trials conformed to ethical practices and were carried out with the consent of the Nigerian government.

Source: AFP

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