Pfizer Finally Begins Payouts in Nigerian Drug Testing Case

Sunday, August 14, 2011
Fifteen years after it was accused of illegally testing a drug on children, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer began this week to pay compensation to families in Nigeria.
During an outbreak of meningitis in 1996, Pfizer injected about 200 children with the drug Trovan as part of a clinical trial. Eleven kids died and dozens more developed disabilities.
Trovan was never approved for use by American children, and while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for adults in 1998, the FDA later restricted its use after reports of liver failure in patients. The European Union banned the drug in 1999.
Families in Nigeria sued Pfizer, which settled out of court for $75 million.
Parents of four children who died received checks of $175,000 each at a ceremony in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, where the trial took place. Other families have complained about Pfizer’s slow pace of awarding payments, which has been blamed on a dispute over whether DNA testing should be used to verify the identification of victims.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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