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Three Pfizer officials to be arrested.

A high court in Nigeria's northern Kano state has ordered the arrest of the boss of the Nigerian subsidiary of Pfizer International, Ngozi Edozien, and two other officials of the company, Larry Barry and Segun Duro, for failing to honour the court's summons, over the case of illegal administration of a meningitis drug on 200 children in the state in 1996, the local media reported Tuesday.

The presiding judge, Shehu Atiku said it is evident that three of the accused have actually been served with summons to appear before the court on November 6, 2007 but until this time none of them has appeared before the court either out of neglect or disrespect of court or contempt, he said before he issued the warrant of arrest and adjourned the case to January 29, 2008.

Issuing the warrant of arrest against the officials Monday, Justice Shehu Atiku ruled they were in contempt of the court.

The state government has filed a criminal suit against the international drugs company for causing the death of 11 children and various degrees of impairment to many others, by administering the unapproved drug, Trovan, on the kids during an outbreak of meningitis in the state in 1996.

The criminal case has been deadlocked over non- appearance of the accused without which the criminal proceedings cannot commence.

The judge was constrained from issuing arrest warrant to Pfizer International Incorporated by the motion its counsel Nelson Ezuegbu filed challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

“Pfizer International Incorporated having filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of this court is exempted from the bench warrant”, Atiku said.

The prosecution accused the three accused of delaying proceedings by assigning a lawyer to sign the acceptance of the summons issued them and filing a suit against the policeman who served them before a Lagos state High Court challenging the Kano High Court’s jurisdiction and demanding for $5 billion damages for the alleged breach of their fundamental human rights.

In the criminal case, Kano state government had accused Pfizer of conspiracy, culpable homicide and causing grave harm to the victims of the alleged drug trial.

Hearing in the case, which has attracted international attention, has been adjourned till 29 January 2008.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad Nigeria couldn't obtain jurisdiction over or extradition of some other Pfizer officers including Bill Steere, probably Karen Katen and others who created the plan in New York headquarters rather than just officers on the ground in Nigeria taking the whole brunt of it all . . .

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pfizer is offering up their Nigerian affiliate doctors as scapegoats to protect the American doctors who conceieved the idea of testing Trovan during the 1996 meningitis epidemic.

With little alternative the Nigerian government seems to be pursuing the prosecution of these Nigeria doctors even though they know these individuals were not the principles responsible for the controversial drug trial.

Pfizer's action is shameful because these sacrificial lambs clearly shows the company's true colors. Pfizer would rather allow these Nigerian doctors become responsible for standing trial as opposed to subjecting American doctors to trial. Pfizer's choice illuminates the company's general prejudice against what they fundamentally believe to be inferior peoples. Irrespective of whether Pfizer's infamous 1996 drug trial actually caused the deaths of the children, there was only one motive behind their conducting this drug trial in Nigeria, that was solely for the profit. Let's not kid ourselves. Pfizer did not mobilze a clinical trial solely motivated by humanitarianism.

The US team which coordinated this study, flew in on a chartered jet, set up a blitzkreig clinical trial with 200 children, and within a couple of weeks, shipped off back to the US as fast as they could with their data. Pfizer did not view these poor and desperate Nigerian people with empathy, respect, only as convenient subjects upon whom tests could be conducted that could lead to the company's making billions of dollars on the drug. That's what the real motive was behind Pfizer's 1996 clinical trial.

Now they are protecting these same white doctors and permitting their Nigerian colleagues, who basically were gievn no choices when they were drafted by mandate to assist the American team in 1996, to be targeted for the blame. After all they are simply Africans who are less than the white doctor's Pfizer is protecting.

Pfzier in good faith should honor Nigeria's legal system, of which they are essentially standing in comtempt, and bring all subjects named in Nigeria's criminal suit to stand before the court.

If Pfizer is innocent, wouldn't the truth stand for itself in the court of law? Nigerian law after all is based on the British law. So what is Pfizer afraid of?


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