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Nigeria files criminal charges against Pfizer

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 07 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1181
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. Boston

    Officials in Nigeria have filed criminal and civil charges against Pfizer for its role in the deaths and disabilities of children who were treated with an experimental drug during a meningitis outbreak in Kano in 1996.

    The charges, filed by government prosecutors in Nigeria, follow three attempts by families of the children to sue in US courts. All three attempts were denied after Pfizer successfully argued that the US courts were not an appropriate forum.

    Four separate legal actions have been filed in Nigeria, including 31 criminal counts against 10 people, according to the Washington Post (, 2 Jun, “Pfizer faces new charges over Nigerian drug test”). The plaintiffs also seek a total of $9bn (£4.5bn; €7bn) in civil suits.

    The charges stem from Pfizer's test of its unlicensed drug, trovafloxacin (Trovan) to treat 100 children with meningitis. A comparator group of 100 children were treated with a low dose of ceftriaxone. Suits on appeal in …

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