Nigerian Court Quashes Cases Against Pfizer


Following the agreement reached by parties in the long running multi billion Naira Trovan Vaccine Test case, a Court of Appeal sitting in the Abuja Judicial Division, on Thursday dismissed two motions filed by Trovan Victims Forum and HealthCare Meningitis Trust Fund.

The two cases had challenged the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court which ordered the transfer of the Trovan vaccine test case to Kano State.

The dismissal of the suit followed the motion for withdrawal moved by the appellants. They said their move was informed by the amicable resolution of all outstanding issues between parties.

The appellate court in dismissing the two motions said it would not make any order as to cost.

Counsel to the respondents including Chief Damian Dodo, a senior advocate of Nigeria, representing the Federal Government did not object to the withdrawal of the motions by the plaintiffs counsel led by Ms. Chioma Akunna.

Both appeals had sought to set aside the order of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja which directed that the suit be transferred to Kano State High Court.

The first appeal was filed Mr. Atigwa Uwa, a senior advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of Mr. Mustapha Maisikeli.

The second appeal, number 438 sought an order of the appellate court quashing the earlier interim order of the federal high court Abuja.

The order made on the 29th of June, 2010 remains “extant” and live and that it does not mean that the Kano State High Court must be bound by the order. The order halted the settlement of the victims of the Trovan vaccines test conducted by Pfizer.

It was leant that settlement process has commenced with about 334 persons filing out for DNA test when suddenly the number shot up to 517 prompting the HealthCare Meningitis Trust Fund prescribing the said DNA test to ascertain the actual number of persons qualified for settlement.

Similarly it was gathered that 200 persons were involved in the Trovan clinical trial in Kano but 11 persons died in the process. In line with the Federal High Court order, the registry of the court was to transfer the records of the proceedings to the registry of Kano State High Court within the 72 hours of delivering the ruling to ensure that the suit commences properly before the Chief Judge of the Kano State High Court, who Justice Kolawole noted would make an order as to the hearing of the case in Kano state.

Meanwhile, the senior advocate, Mr. Damian Dodo, told journalists that the matter is being resolved amicably by parties and that there was remote possibility of having a new case against the drug manufacturers; Pfizer, over settlements and claims.

Other defendants in the matter are Pfizer Incorporated; Pfizer, David Odiwo , the secretary of the Trust Fund, Attorney General of the federation and Corporate Affairs Commission.

—Nnamdi Felix / Abuja