NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc said it has settled all outstanding lawsuits involving accusations that it tested the experimental antibiotic Trovan on children in Nigeria during a 1996 meningitis outbreak without receiving adequate prior consent.
Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but papers filed in U.S. federal court in New York noted the immediate dismissal of pending cases involving allegations of harm to children who were given the drug during the clinical testing in Nigeria.
Pfizer has argued that meningitis and not its antibiotic led to deaths of 11 children and harm to dozens of others in the 200-patient trial in the Nigerian state of Kano.
“The cases have been amicably resolved after many years of litigation. The settlement will bring an end to all litigation pertaining to Trovan in the United States and Nigeria and allow for just compensation for participants in the study and their families,” Pfizer said in a statement.
The settlement follows a decision last June by the U.S. Supreme Court not to review a lower court ruling that reinstated U.S. lawsuits brought by Nigerian families. Pfizer had appealed that ruling to the U.S. top court.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs will join the ongoing Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Fund process, which is being managed by an independent Board of Trustees in Kano, Nigeria, the parties said in a joint statement.
Pfizer in 2009 reached a separate $75 million settlement with Kano state government to compensate victims. The Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Fund was set up as part of that 2009 settlement to help administer payments.
“The settlement of the cases pertaining to Trovan clears the way for the Board (of Trustees) to finalize its work in Nigeria to determine claimants’ eligibility,” Pfizer Associate General Counsel Bradley Lerman said in a statement.
“We are pleased that this agreement moves us one step closer to providing compensation to those for whom the fund was intended,” Lerman added.