Pfizer begins payouts in fatal Nigeria drug study

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KANO, NIGERIA (AP) - Drug maker Pfizer Inc. says it has begun paying victims and their families affected by its fatal 1996 meningitis study in northern Nigeria.

Nigeria’s government and the New York-based pharmaceutical company announced a $75 million settlement in 2009. The company on Thursday announced it made a $175,000 payment to the families of four children who died. The families submitted DNA to show the dead were their children.

In 1996, Pfizer treated 100 meningitis-infected children with an experimental antibiotic called Trovan. Eleven children died during the clinical trial, performed during an outbreak of the disease. Lawsuits filed against the company alleged some received a dose lower than recommended, leaving many children with brain damage, paralysis or slurred speech.

Pfizer denied the charges.

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