VENTURES AFRICA – Pfizer International Pharmaceutical Company has compensated another batch of (five) victims of its 1996 Kano trovan test, with the sum of 119 million naira (about $700,000).
The protracted compensation is another step in justice for the victims who were permanently incapacitated after Pfizer tested Trovan, a meningitis drug on 200 children in Kano, 16 years ago, also leaving 11 children dead.
According to Al Jazeera, the American pharmaceutical company agreed in 2009 to pay $75 million in compensation to the claimants, though conditioned on DNA test verification.
Many of the Kano victims, who did not understand what DNA testing was, abandoned their monies fearing the blood test could also turn for the worst.
Going by official data from Nigeria’s last census, Kano is the country’s most populated state, having a second-to-Lagos rate of commercial activity, surrounded by rural settlements struggling with poverty, diseases and little or no formal education.
The Pfizer compensations have been made through the retired Justice Abubakar Bashir Wali-led Healthcare Meningitis Trust Fund which the pharmaceutical company established in collaboration with Kano state government.
Justice Abubakar Wali while making the latest compensations, delivered cheques to five victims in Kano stating the payment made to each victim was determined by the degree of disability they suffered.
“This amount belongs to you the victim and you are not supposed to give any amount to anybody.” he said to the unlearned victims.
The chairman explained to stakeholders the delay for the compensations stating the process was cumbersome, and the board needed to follow due process.
He also gave indications of hope to claimants who failed the DNA test, saying the board was considering using other evidences to verify them for the compensation.