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Nigeria Launches Seven Billion Dollar Case Against Pfizer

ed out in the northern city of Kano when there was an epidemic of meningitis, measles and cholera.

Nigeria filed a lawsuit June 4 against Pfizer for allegedly administering a test antibiotic called Trovan without authorisation or parental consent among children at a field hospital in the heart of the epidemic in Kano.

A similar suit was filed a couple of weeks earlier by authorities in Kano, Nigeria's largest state, which is seeking 2.75 billion dollars from Pfizer.

"In the midst of the epidemic, Pfizer devised a scheme under which it misrepresented and failed to disclose its primary motive in seeking to participate in giving care to the victims of the epidemic," the Kano state said in its suit.

Kano State has started both civil and criminal proceedings. The federal government has brought only a civil case.

Pfizer's lawyer Afe Babalola told journalists after Tuesday's hearing that the government case was unfounded.

"I found that there is no truth whatsoever in the claim by the federal government that my client did not obtain approval from the National Food and Drug Administration Council, NAFDAC, before coming to this place," he said.

"There are documents showing that before Pfizer came .. they wrote to the federal government and the federal government accepted and welcomed them," he continued.

"There was nothing fraudulent or surreptitious which my client did."

In Kano, the justice commissioner who filed the Kano State suits against Pfizer on behalf of the state and families of the victims, said he would accept an out-of-court settlement on the issue of compensation.

"If the defendants shows willingness to settle out of court ... we can do that with the consent of the victims and their families," Aliyu Umar, told AFP

He also said he favoured consolidating the two civil suits.

"But on the criminal sui
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