Pfizer's Nigerian deal held up by logistics

Last week's rumored settlement of the long-running Nigerian litigation against Pfizer lacks only a few final details, according to local and international media. U.K. newspapers have put the settlement amount at $75 million. Reportedly holding up the deal is some disagreement over just how that money will be allocated.

African news sources, however, are saying that local officials have announced the final terms, and the disagreement lies in the local governments' use of Pfizer's settlement dollars. Under the deal, $10 million goes to legal fees, $30 million to Kano State government, and $35 million to the victims. The $30 million is supposed to be earmarked for rebuilding a hospital and other healthcare initiatives.

As you know, Pfizer has been locked in lawsuits over a 1996 trial of the antibiotic Trovan. Pfizer came into Nigeria during a meningitis epidemic and tested the experimental drug; during the trial, 11 children died and some 200 others suffered deformities. The victims, victims' families, and local government have accused Pfizer of causing those injuries and conducting the trial improperly. The company maintains that the deaths and injuries stemmed from the meningitis itself, not the treatment.

Now, 13 years later, Pfizer is calling on the government and courts to make the settlement disbursement a "transparent" process to ensure that the money gets to the victims and the government funds are used for specific healthcare projects.

- read the All Africa story
- see the Wall Street Journal article