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Pfizer finalizes settlement with Nigeria state in drug testing lawsuit

[JURIST] Drug maker Pfizer [corporate website] finalized a settlement Monday with the Nigerian state of Kano in a lawsuit over allegedly illegal clinical trials the company conducted in Nigeria in 1996. The Kano government had filed a lawsuit [BBC backgrounder] against Pfizer in 2007, accusing the company of administering meningitis medication to 200 Nigerian children, including 100 with the then-experimental antibiotic Trovan [FDA backgrounder], without the authorization of the government or the consent of the patients' guardians. They also alleged that the testing killed 11 children and incapacitated 181 others, demanding a total of $2.75 billion in damages. Pfizer has consistently denied the allegations [statement of defense, PDF], and has said that the company's actions were both ethical and beneficial [press release]. The drug maker is expected to pay a total of $75 million to settle the claim, and the two sides plan to sign the settlement on Thursday.

Kano and Pfizer reached a tentative agreement in the case in April, after Pfizer expressed hope in October that a settlement could be reached after ongoing negotiations [JURIST reports] in the case. In 2007, 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 asked for more time to prepare for trial.

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