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PFIZER'S VICTIMS IN KANO WITHDRAW FROM DNA TEST

By NBF News
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Some self-acclaimed victims of the 1996 Trovan clinical study in Kano State, under the aegis of the Trovan Victims Forum (TVF), on Wednesday, withdrew their participation from the activities of the Pfizer's Healthcare/Meningitis Trust Board.

The Board was set up in the wake of an out-of-court settlement between the Kano State Government and the multinational company, Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company, last year and the withdrawal of the forum may have far-reaching consequences on the settlement process.

A letter with the thumbprint of about 192 claimants, dated May 10, 2010, said they are withdrawing their applications for compensation with regard to the injuries they suffered as a result of the Trovan Clinical Trial of 1996, adding that they hope to continue to seek remedies to their alleged injuries elsewhere.

The letter addressed to the executive secretary of the HealthCare and Meningitis Fund requested the Board to immediately cease to process the applications of their members and to return all documents and items submitted to them not later than seven days from the date of service of this letter.

Signed by the Chairman of the forum, Alhaji Mustapha G. Maisikeli, the forum's letter further stated that: 'We are concerned that your Board has accepted Pfizer's claim to have DNA samples of our clients without an independent verification. Your Board has failed the pertinent question of how it intends to confirm that any DNA samples Pfizer may send are not those of children from other parts of Nigeria and indeed Africa.'

They equally noted that: 'We have still not been availed the full copy of the agreement between Kano State Government and Pfizer in order for us to appropriately advise our clients' even as they insisted that the Board should suspend their activities immediately considering that their 217 clients constitute the majority of applicants.

Credible sources, however, told the Daily Sun that their withdrawal may not be unconnected to the arrival of medical experts, two days earlier, from a United States company, BODE Technologies, to conduct the DNA test on the claimants.

'The MVF are afraid that a number of the claimants will be exposed for their lies as their children may not have died of the study after all' said an insider, who also queried their demand to be treated as a group rather than as individuals.

Members of the Board of Trustees include a retired Supreme Court Justice, Hon. Justice Abubakar Bashir Wali; Professor Isa Hashim, representing the Emir, Dr Proper I Igboeli, Dr Musa Mohammed Borodo, and Professor Mu'Tua Ibrahim.