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Nigerian families free to sue Pfizer in US

AFP

Nigerian families will be able to sue the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company Pfizer. This comes after the US Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the pharmaceutical giant to put an end to the lawsuits.  

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Pfizer is accused of testing the antibiotic Trovan on 200 Nigerian children, killing at least 11 and leaving many blind, deaf, or mentally handicapped. But the company claims that the families, as well as the Nigerian government, consented to the drug trial.

The tests date back to 1996, when meningitis, cholera and measles epidemics killed thousands of Nigerians.

Pfizer says that children taking the antibiotic had a higher chance of survival. The drug company has already agreed to pay 75 million dollars (61 million euros) in damages, including 35 million dollars (28 million euros) to the families of the victims.

There is still controversy about whether or not the cases fall under US jurisdiction.

Originally, a US judge had ruled the claims should be heard in Nigeria, citing the government’s alleged participation in the tests. A decision overturned by the US court of appeals in New York.

That’s when the pharmaceutical company appealed to the country’s highest court. Disappointed with the ruling, Pfizer says it will continue to seek dismissal on other grounds.

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