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Pfizer hopes for November settlement with 1996 Nigerian drug trial plaintiffs

[JURIST] Officials from Nigeria and from US pharmaceutical company Pfizer [corporate website] said Monday that they hope to reach a settlement agreement by the end of next month over allegedly illegal clinical trials conducted in Nigeria by the drug company in 1996. The national government and the state of Kano filed separate lawsuits [BBC backgrounder] in 2007 accusing Pfizer of administering meningitis medication to 200 Nigerian children - including 100 with the then-experimental antibiotic Trovan [FDA backgrounder] - without the authorization of the Nigerian government or the consent of the patients' guardians. They also charge that the testing killed 11 children and incapacitated 181 others, and demanded a total of $8.5 billion in damages. Pfizer has denied the charges [statement of defense, PDF] and said that the company's actions were both ethical and beneficial [press release]. Pfizer continues to deny legal liability. Reuters has more. AFP has additional coverage.

Last year, a Nigerian court rejected a request by Pfizer [JURIST report] to dismiss the Nigerian government's 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.

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