Pfizer resumes settlement talks with Nigeria state over drug trial lawsuit

[JURIST] US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer [corporate website] resumed settlement negotiations with the Nigerian state of Kano for allegedly illegal clinical trials conducted by the drug company, Kano state Justice Commissioner Aliyu Umar said Monday. Pfizer is accused of administering 200 Nigerian children with meningitis medication - including 100 with the then-experimental anti-biotic Trovan [FDA backgrounder] - without the authorization of the Nigerian government or the consent of the patients' guardians. Umar said that the government has made a counter-offer to settle the lawsuit after the state rejected Pfizer's initial offer, and now awaits a response from the drug company.

Pfizer faces 31 criminal charges and civil lawsuits [BBC backgrounder] totaling $8.5 billion for its alleged wrongdoing during a 1996 meningitis outbreak in Kano. Pfizer claims that it obtained parental consent orally and reduced the dosage of the comparison drug used in the clinical trial to reduce the level of pain for the patients. Last year, a Nigerian court rejected a request by Pfizer [JURIST report] to dismiss the civil lawsuit on technical grounds. Also last year, criminal court proceedings against Pfizer were suspended [JURIST report] at the request of prosecutors who needed more time to prepare for trial. AFP has more.

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