Pfizer Settles with Nigeria in Multimillion Drug Lawsuit

July 27, 2009

Nigeria’s Kano state and drugmaker Pfizer Inc have reached a final court settlement in a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit over a 1996 drug trial, lawyers for both parties said on Monday.

The northern state of Kano sued the world’s largest drugmaker in May 2007 for $2 billion in damages over the testing of the meningitis drug Trovan, which the authorities say killed 11 children and left dozens disabled.

“We have settled and we are signing an agreement on Thursday,” said Aliyu Umar, counsel for Kano state.

The New York-based firm has denied all charges and says meningitis, not Trovan, killed the children or damaged their health. It said Trovan saved lives and was as effective as a more established drug used for comparison in the study.

The lawyers would not disclose how much was agreed to in the settlement.

Sources close to the negotiations told Reuters in April that the two sides were nearing a $75 million agreement, including the payment by Pfizer of $10 million legal fees, $30 million to Kano state and $35 million to victims and families.

“We are happy with what we got,” said one of the victims on Monday without confirming the settlement amount.

Lawyers are expected to officially withdraw the case at a hearing on Aug. 6 in Kano. (Reporting by Mike Oboh; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Hans Peters)

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