This week, US drug giant Pfizer will sign an out of court settlement relating to the 1996 trial of its candidate meningitis vaccine treatment Trovan (trovafloxacin), according to Nigerian authorities.
In 2007, the Nigerian government filed a suit seeking $2bn (€1.45bn) from Pfizer, alleging that the drug killed 11 children who participated in the trial and injured several dozen more.
Pfizer, which did not respond to in-PharmaTechnologist’s request for comment, has consistently denied any wrongdoing and, until earlier this year, had said it would contest the Nigerian suit.
On April 3, however, the firm said it had reached a “broad and principal fundamental [settlement] agreement” with the Kano state authorities, details of which were due to by released in May.
While that deadline came and went, earlier this week Kano state counsel Aliyu Umar told Reuters that the two parties have settled and will be signing the formal agreement on Thursday.
Although financial details have not yet been released, earlier this year the UK’s Independent newspaper speculated that Pfizer would pay around $35m to the families of trial patients, $30m to the Kano authorities and $10m in legal fees.
While the possible settlement will provide the world’s biggest drugmaker with some respite from the considerable amount of bad publicity that the Trovan case has generated, the relief may well be short lived.
In January, the US Court of Appeals overturned an earlier ruling and gave a green light to 88 Nigerian families seeking to pursue claims against Pfizer in the US.