Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Court to Hear FG, Pfizer Case October 8

Abuja — A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday set aside October 8, this year, for hearing in a motion by the world pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer Incorporated, seeking to quash a report by the Investigating Committee on the Clinical Trial of Trovan conducted in Kano in 1996 which indicted it (Pfizer).

The report of the committee sought to be quashed indicted Pfizer of maiming or and killing in 1996, not fewer than 99 children afflicted by bacterial meningitis in Kano through alleged illegal experimentation of its products, Trovafloxacin Mesylate, (Trovan) on them.

The government has not only charged the pharmaceutical giant to court, it has also taken out a writ, asking for $7billion damages against the pharmaceutical firm.

But before hearing could commence in the two cases, Pfizer played a smart one by filing a certiorari application seeking to nullify the indictment entered against it which formed the basis of both the criminal and the civil suits pending in court.

Already, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted it leave to pursue the order of certiorari against the government.

The motion by Pfizer to quash the report came up for mention yesterday before Justice Anwuli Chikere.

The Federal Government which was served all the processes in court yesterday has filed a memorandum of appearance in the matter.

But it requested for time to respond to issues raised in the motion by Pfizer in the interest of justice.

The trial judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere has however fixed October 8, this year as return date in view of the request by the Federal Government.

Chief Anthony Idige (SAN) and Damien Dodo (SAN) led a team of lawyers to push Pfizer's case yesterday in court while former Attorney-General of Lagos State, Prof. Yemi Osibajo (SAN) is representing the Federal Government.

Osibajo has already served a notice on Pfizer to challenge its legal bid to nullify the indictment against it.

Pfizer in the motion is asking the court for an order of Certiorari removing the March 2001 report of the Investigative Committee on the clinical trial of Trovafloxacin (TROVAN) by the company into the court for the purpose of quashing it.

It is also asking for a declaration that the recommendation of the Committee that the company be sanctioned was in excess of its authority and or jurisdiction or competence.

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