Pfizer aims for settlement on Trovan

The long legal saga of Pfizer versus Nigeria could come to a close quite soon. The drugmaker and alleged victims of a drug trial hope to reach out-of-court settlement next month, lawyers told a Nigerian high court Monday. The two sides asked for an adjournment until Nov. 27 to give them time to pursue a deal.

"We are making a push for final settlement out of court," prosecution counsel Suleiman Na-Malam said. Athony Idigbe, Pfizer's lawyer, said, "We are optimistic we will make progress on the settlement issue and then brief the court on what we will have agreed on."

Settlements have been rumored before, but this is the first time both sides have admitted to progress in negotiations. If they come to an agreement, the deal would end several years of bitter legal argument over Trovan, an experimental meningitis drug administered to Nigerian children during a severe epidemic. Plaintiffs accused Pfizer of improperly conducting the trial--and of leaving 11 children dead and many others disfigured. Pfizer maintained that it acted properly, and that the deaths and injuries stemmed from the disease, not the drug.

- read the story from AFP