Pfizer ($PFE) has wrapped up its long-standing legal war over the controversial 1996 meningitis-drug trial in Nigeria. For more than a decade, the company fought claims that its experimental antibiotic Trovan caused deaths and disfiguring injuries in children given the drug without their parents' fully informed consent. Now, those suits are all settled, the company said, without disclosing the terms of the deal.
"The cases have been amicably resolved after many years of litigation," Pfizer said in a statement. "The settlement will bring an end to all litigation pertaining to Trovan in the United States and Nigeria and allow for just compensation for participants in the study and their families."
It's been a long and winding road, with cases in state and federal courts in Nigeria and in U.S. federal courts. After a bitter battle, Nigerian claims were settled in 2009 with a $75 million agreement that set up a trust fund to administer payouts to qualified victims. The newly settled U.S. litigation went all the way to the Supreme Court as Pfizer questioned the Nigerian plaintiffs' right to sue in America.
The new settlement paves the way for the Nigerian trust fund to go ahead with its work of certifying victims, Pfizer's associate general counsel, Bradley Lerman, said in a statement. The certification process includes DNA testing, which suspicious victims and their families had questioned in court, but as Pharmalot reports, the latest deal resolves those claims, too. "We are pleased that this agreement moves us one step closer to providing compensation to those for whom the fund was intended," Lerman said.