Nigerian claimants collect first Pfizer suit payout

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KANO, Nigeria | Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:59am EDT

KANO, Nigeria Aug 11 (Reuters) – The parents of four Nigerian children who died during a 1996 meningitis outbreak in a case involving accusations of wrongful testing against Pfizer Inc each collected cheques for $175,000 from a compensation trust fund on Thursday.


The compensation was the first given out by The Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Fund, which was set up after Pfizer reached a $75 million settlement in 2009 with the government of Kano state, a region in northern Nigeria, to compensate victims.

The decision over who is compensated and for how much is being managed by an independent board of trustees in Kano, not by the government or Pfizer, the company has said.

The world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company has argued that meningitis and not its antibiotic led to the deaths of 11 children and harm to dozens of others in the 200-patient trial in Kano.

“We are pleased that these four individuals, the first group of qualified claimants of the Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Fund, have received compensation,” a spokesman for Pfizer said.

“This is the first step in a multi-phase review process by which the independent board of trustees that manages the funds will deliver payments to all other claimants.”

Pfizer said in February it had settled all outstanding lawsuits involving accusations that it tested the experimental antibiotic Trovan on children.

(Reporting by Mike Oboh; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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