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Pfizer Pays Fresh N119m To Beneficiaries Of Calamitous Meningitis Treatment

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SAN FRANCISCO, September 14, (THEWILL) – Another batch of victims of the infamous failed 1996 meningitis treatment in Kano State have received compensation running into several millions of naira from international drugs company, Pfizer.

The five victims received a total of N119m through the Healthcare Meningitis Trust Fund (HMTF).

During the presentation of the cheques to qualified claimants at the Diagnostic Centre in Dawakin Kudu on the outskirts of Kano on Thursday, Chairman of HMTF, Justice Abubakar Bashir Wali explained that the graduated amount of compensation paid to each victim was determined by the various degrees of disability they suffered.

He presented cheques ranging from $140, 000 to $175,000 to the beneficiaries, who are fifth in the series.

“This money belongs to you, the victim; and you are not supposed to give any amount of it to anybody. But if you have another arrangement with anybody, it is not our business,” he said.

“It is most gratifying and heartwarming that the five Trovan Victims Forum (TVF) claimants heeded my appeal to honour the board’s invitation, and after comprehensive medical examination and other protocols, they are being compensated today.”

Wali also admitted complications in the procedures contained in the settlement deal, and therefore appealed to all stakeholders to be patient with the board, as it is guided by the agreement reached with the donors.

He added that the board is also considering the cases of those without DNA evidences who nevertheless have other evidences to prove their qualification for some compensation.

Pfizer had treated hundreds of children in 1996 when northern Kano State was hit by Africa’s harshest-ever meningitis epidemic but 11 of those children died in the clinical trial, which involved the administration of Trovan, an experimental oral antibiotic to 100 children, an ceftriaxone, the “gold-standard” treatment of modern medicine to another 100.

Five of the children on Trovan treatment died just as six of those on ceftriaxone, sparking a fierce 15-year legal battle that was truncated in 2011 when the famed drugs company opted for out-of-court settlement with the government of Kano.