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Pfizer: Victims to undergo fresh screening before compensation

By AbdulSalam Muhammad

KANO — Victims of the 1996 Pfizer Trovan drug test trial in Kano are to undergo another round of scrutiny before they receive a dime as compensation.

A retired Supreme Court Judge, and Chairman, Pfizer/Kano sState Health Care Meningitis Trust Fund, Justice Bashir Wali, declared in Kano that the essence was to ensure transparency and guarantee fairness to parties involved in the controversial drug test saga.

Justice Wali said the Committee would not restrict itself to documentary evidence at the disposal of Pfizer’s attorneys and its officials, adding that they would also look at both physical and documentary evidence at the disposal of the victims of the drug test to arrive at a final conclusion .

His words: “We are aware that there are documentary evidence already compiled by Pfizer but we equally have the discretion to go through other evidences and use them as bases for recommending compensation as there would be medical examination and other means of ascertaining the veracity of such claims.”

Justice Wali said forms would be distributed to victims to specify their respective claims, adding that each claim would be scrutinised by members of the Fund before arriving at a final decision on the appropriate amount to be paid in the end.

He hinted that those to be scrutinised could be more than the 200 persons who actually participated in the 1996 drug test trial, maintaining the move is to ensure fairness to all.

The 1996 controversial drug trial is believed to have caused the deaths of 11 children and left dozens of others disabled in Kano, prompting the Federal Government and Kano State Government to drag the international pharmaceutical giant to court.

In the out of court settlement deal reached some months ago, Pfizer agreed to a $75 million settlement that requires Pfizer to pay $10 million in legal fees, $30 million to the Kano State and $35 million to the families of children who were drafted into its 1996 trial. The settlement also includes a provision that Pfizer rebuild Kano-owned Infectious Disease Hospital, where the trial took place.


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