Kano and Pfizer Finally Settle

No Comments » August 5th, 2009 posted by // Categories: Health



The lingering Trovan saga between Kano State of Nigeria and pharmaceutical giants Pfizer came to an amicable end last on 30th July 2009 when the agreement to settle all the contending issues out of court was jointly signed by representatives of both parties in the presence of former head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.

 

In a joint statement released at the ensuing press conference, the parties said, “We are pleased to announce that we have reached a final agreement to settle the Trovan litigation between Pfizer and the Kano State government. The parties agree that settlement is in the best interest of both parties, as it avoids the cost and distraction of protracted litigation and enables both of us to focus on our core missions and business.”

In financial terms, the total settlement is worth $75 million. The terms are that Pfizer would (1) establish a Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Fund of up to US$35 million from which study participants can receive financial support; (2) underwrite several healthcare initiatives chosen by the Kano State government that benefit the people of Kano State, totaling US$30 million over a period of time; and (3) reimburse Kano State for US$10 million in legal costs associated with the litigation.

 

Both parties have empanelled two independent Board of Trustees to administer and oversee the disbursement of funds with the following membership:

 

Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Fund:

Hon. Justice (Rtd.) S.M.A. Belgore

Bala Borodo, M.D.

Professor Isa Hashim

Muuta Ibrahim, M.D.

Prosper Ikechukwu Igboeli, M.D.

Hon. Justice (Rtd.) Abubakar Bashir Wali

 

Healthcare Related Programs Trust Fund:

Professor Shehu Galadanchi

Ibrahim A. Haruna

Adamu Jafiya

Adamu Aliyu Kiyawa

Habibu Sadauki, M.D.

Professor Auwalu Yadudu

 

It is noteworthy that the settlement is based on no admission of liability by Pfizer because so far no offence has been established against the pharmaceutical company in spite of several years of litigation. Also, Kano State will withdraw both the civil and criminal Trovan-related cases it filed against the company and various individuals.

 

In a separate statement, Pfizer’s Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel Brad Lerman said, “We have been a partner with the people and governments of Nigeria for more than 50 years. The company believes that a mutually agreeable resolution to the Trovan cases is the best way to continue that relationship and allow Pfizer and the Nigerian governments to focus on what matters – improving healthcare for all Nigerians.”

 

It is expected that the settlement will also lead to the withdrawal of the cases filed by the federal government in respect of the same Trovan trials of 1996. Answering a question at the press conference, General Yakubu Gowon who helped midwife the truce said the federal authorities gave him the impression that once Kano State had reached an agreement with Pfizer, the federal cases would subsequently be withdrawn.

 

It will be recalled that the cerebrospinal meningitis epidemic that struck Nigeria in 1996 took at least 12,000 lives over a six-month period, and affected more than 100,000 people.

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