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PFIZER: 150 MEMBERS OF TROVAN VICTIMS FORUM UNDERGO DNA TEST IN KANO

By NBF News
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Over 150 members of the Trovan Victims Forum (TVF) have so far submitted to the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) test, designed to verify their claims of participation in the Trovan clinical trial conducted by an American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer Inc. in the wake of the 1996 meningitis epidemic in northern Nigeria.

The forum had boycotted the DNA test exercise in the state and had instituted a court action as a result of which the DNA test was suspended pending the determination of the legal issues raised.

Investigation by the Daily Sun yesterday showed that hundreds of members of the forum, including men and women were at the office of the Trust to submit their samples to the forensic experts for subsequent matching with the samples collected from the participants of the trial in 1996.

Speaking to the Daily Sun at the office of the Meningitis Trust, the Chairman of the Trovan Victims Forum (TVF), Alhaji Mustapha Garba Meshekili disclosed that they had resolved all the grey areas that resulted in their petition and subsequent court actions.

He revealed that as things stood, their members were satisfied that the process would be transparent and credible, especially with the substitution of a member of the board who could no longer inspire their confidence.

The chairman, who allegedly lost two children during the clinical trial, noted that so far over 100 of their 192 members have submitted themselves to the test, expressing optimism that they would qualify for the payment of the compensation.

The Executive Secretary of the Trust, Mr. David Odinwo disclosed that the forensic test was being handled by an American forensic outfit, Bode Technologies Incorporated, adding that they were about the best in the world.

He pledged that the compensation of the verified victims would commence as soon as the results of the tests were returned to the Health Care/Meningitis Trust.

About N35 million would be paid to the proven victims of the clinical trial as part of the out-of-court resolution of the dispute.