Contradictory news out of Africa and India today on Pfizer's big court fight with Nigeria. As you know, the drugmaker has been wrangling with the Kano state government and civil plaintiffs over a 90s'-era meningitis drug trial. During the trial, children taking the drug died and suffered disabling injuries--which victims and families blame on Pfizer and Pfizer blames on the meningitis itself.
According to the Times of India, Pfizer and the victims' families have reached a settlement agreement (in principle, at least). The deal is scheduled for signing next month in Rome, an unnamed source told the paper, without disclosing how much money might change hands. Negotiations were facilitated, the source said, by former President Jimmy Carter and ex-Nigerian military leader Yakubu Gowon. This source's credibility is for you to decide.
Other news sources confirm that the case has been adjourned until early April, but only hint at the possibility that a settlement deal has been reached. Kano state officials requested the adjournment to allow the parties to "enable us finalise (sic) out of court settlement," All Africa reports. Pfizer agreed to the adjournment without mentioning a settlement. Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting that Nigeria has offered Pfizer a do-or-die settlement amount, quoting Aliyu Umar, Kano's attorney general. If Pfizer doesn't accept, the case will proceed, the AG told Bloomberg via telephone today.
This latest comes just a few weeks after a U.S. court cleared the way for the Nigerian families and victims to sue Pfizer here. A lower court had ruled that the case had to stay in Nigeria.