Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageAFP: Pfizer settles multi-billion dollar case in Nigeria

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 26, 2009 in World
Sources say Pfizer has settled a muli-billion dollar case with Nigerian people that could negatively impact disease control. The award could impact the company and raise fears of people who need immunization to keep certain diseases from spreading.
Nigerian officials say the pharmaceutical company Pfizer ran meningitis vaccine tests of Trovan illegally on children resulting in 200 deaths and deformities. The African country alleges that 189 children were deformed and 11 died because of tests Pfizer conducted, but this first settlement isn’t the end of the story. The country of Nigeria continues to be in a $6.5 billion lawsuit with Pfizer.
Nigeria’s claim that Pfizer was negligent was refuted by Pfizer that wouldn’t admit wrongdoing in this case. However, the settlement was made through a deal brokered by former President
Jimmy Carter and a former military leader Yakubu Gowon, according to an unnamed source.
African and Asian newspapers report the settlement on their front pages today. This high-visibility case will like create questions about drugs given to people in these countries that are alleged to be safe. One concern might be drugs that are used for HIV/AIDs.
Pfizer has been involved in providing drugs to help the victims of HIV/AIDs in Africa. They have donated millions of dollars worth of these drugs to countries such as South Africa. Given this big story and claims from Nigeria about deformed and dead children, what impact might this have on Africans taking needed medications? And what might be the financial consequences to Pfizer in the payment of billions of dollars? Also with Nigeria’s reputation for crime and corruption questions are likely to be raised about their claims.
This news sidebar may end up being a bigger one given the international consequences in the area of disease prevention in developing countries. Out of these developing countries come consequential diseases such as polio, small pox and others that without certain drugs could spread. Given the concerns about malaria raised recently, if people become afraid of taking vaccinations or drugs, there could be serious international consequences. Without immunization for influenza, for example, there could be a pandemic.
The Pfizer settlement and the issues of disease control are impacted by the fact that there are counterfeit drugs being given to patients that might be blamed on the large pharmaceutical companies. The combination of counterfeit drugs and the story about a big settlement that implies an American company guilty of killing children with drugs might raise enough fear to be of concern at a time when disease control is urgent.
A story treated incidentally in the United States may end up being one of the biggest stories of 2009 depending upon the reaction of people in Asia and Africa to the news of the Pfizer award. People of Africa have boycotted needed medications before. This recent award of billions, therefore, could bring serious problems for the world and threats of disease spread at a time when the world doesn’t need any more big problems. It also raises questions about Pfizer and how it conducts its tests.
More about Pfizer, Meningitis, Disease control