(AFP) – Oct 27, 2008
KANO, Nigeria (AFP) — The US drug giant Pfizer and alleged victims of a drug trial it carried out in northern Nigeria hope to reach out-of-court settlement next month, lawyers told a Kano high court Monday.
"We have both agreed for the matter to be adjourned ... to November 27 since we are making a push for final settlement out of court," prosecution counsel Suleiman Na-Malam said.
"We have agreed that the matter be adjourned to November 27, we are optimistic we will make progress on the settlement issue and then brief the court on what we will have agreed on," Anthony Idigbe, lawyer to Pfizer, told the court.
Kano state government filed criminal and civil suits against Pfizer in 2006 demanding a 2.75 billion dollar (2.2 billion euros) compensation from the company for an allegedly illegal trial of a meningitis drug.
The drug Trovan was administered to some 200 children during a triple epidemic of measles, cholera and meningitis in 1996 which claimed 30,000 lives.
The drug allegedly led to the death of 11 children and deformity for 181 others, including paralysis, deafness, blindness and brain damage.
Pfizer has denied any wrongdoing throughout, arguing the trial was conducted with the full knowledge and approval of the Kano state government.
The Nigerian federal government later filed a separate suit against Pfizer before a high court in the administrative capital Abuja seeking seven billion dollars (5.6 billion euros) in damages.
In June in Dubai, Kano and the federal government jointly told Pfizer they would settle for a total of 650 million dollars.
Pfizer offered to pay them some 10 million dollars which they rejected, according to a source close to the negotiations.
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