By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA, July 30 (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Pfizer (PFE.N) signed a settlement worth up to $75 million with Nigeria’s Kano state on Thursday related to a 1996 meningitis drug trial, the two parties said in a joint statement.
The northern state of Kano sued the world’s largest drugmaker in May 2007 for $2 billion in damages over the testing of the meningitis drug Trovan, saying the drug killed 11 children and left dozens disabled.
The New York-based company has denied all charges and said meningitis, not Trovan, killed the children or damaged their health. It said Trovan saved lives and was as effective as a more established drug used for comparison in the study.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a final agreement to settle the Trovan litigation between Pfizer and the Kano state government,” the two parties said in the joint statement released in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
“The parties agree that settlement is in the best interests of both parties as it avoids the cost and distraction of protracted litigation and enables both of us to focus on our core mission and business,” the statement said.
Under the deal, Pfizer agreed to underwrite several healthcare initiatives chosen by the Kano state government totalling $30 million over a period of two years.
It also agreed to establish a healthcare fund for those who participated in the 1996 Trovan study which could disburse up to $35 million, depending on the total number of valid claims submitted and accepted by a board selected by both parties.
It also agreed to reimburse Kano state for $10 million in legal costs associated with the litigation.
“We are especially pleased that the benefits of this settlement will be directed first and foremost to those who contracted meningitis in 1996 and also participated in the clinical study at that time,” Pfizer Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel said in a statement.
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