Last Thursday, Pfizer announced a $75 million settlement with Nigeria's Kano state government to resolve claims that the pharmaceutical company was responsible for the death or disabling of dozens of children in a 1996 clinical study of the Pfizer antibiotic Trovan. Pfizer will establish a $35 million fund for people who participated in the trial, underwrite $30 million in health care initiatives in Kano, and pay $10 million to cover the state's legal costs. In return, the state -- which initially sought more than $5 billion -- agreed to drop all civil and criminal charges against Pfizer, which has always maintained that the deaths and injuries were the result of meningitis, not its drug.
But Pfizer hasn't bought peace in all of the litigation stemming from the Trovan study. Nigeria's central government has pending civil and criminal cases against the company, and a lawyer for Kano told The Washington Post that the Kano settlement does not resolve the federal cases, in which Nigeria seeks almost $7 billion.
Moreover, as the Litigation Daily has previously reported, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January revived an Alien Tort Claims Act class action brought on behalf of the children allegedly harmed in the Trovan trial. Richard Altschuler of Altschuler & Altschuler, who represents more than 50 plaintiffs in the class action, told The Associated Press that news of the Kano settlement made him optimistic. "I think it's encouraging, and it may be a very significant step [toward resolution]," he said. (He declined further comment to the Litigation Daily.)
Pfizer, which is represented by Kaye Scholer in the U.S. Trovan litigation, said in an e-mail statement that it is trying to settle that case as well. "We believe settlement is in the best interest of all parties to the remaining Trovan litigation," the statement said. "We are pursuing discussions toward that goal."
This article first appeared on The Am Law Litigation Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.