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Compensation finally awarded for unethically administered meningitis drug
August 15, 2011 2:54 PM   Subscribe

As reported by Agence France Presse, the Guardian and the New York Times, last week four families in Kano, Nigeria received $175,000 each as compensation for the deaths of their children, who participated in a drug trial conducted by Pfizer Inc. (Wikileaks links inside)

Now, more than a decade after a powerful investigative piece by the Washington Post revealed shocking ethical breaches by Pfizer in its testing of Trovan in 2000, and a panel of Nigerian medical experts concluded in 2001 that Pfizer violated international law during the epidemic producing a report that was quashed until 2006, compensation will soon be handed out. Despite having now settled the case, the company still contends that meningitis, not its drugs, was responsible for the deaths and injuries (PDF), (PDF). Intriguingly, Pfizer was also implicated by the Wikileaks release of this cable in an attempt to blackmail Nigerian federal attorney general Michael Aondoakaa to expose purported corruption and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases.

Not surprisingly Kano and other Muslim areas of West Africa have, since 2003, been a hotbed of polio vaccine non-compliance, leading to epidemics that have spread across the continent.
posted by Blasdelb (15 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you can't test it on your neighbors and family don't fuckin test it. Christ.
posted by yesster at 3:03 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Apparently Pfizer did not learn from the Tuskegee experiment. Or rather, it learned the wrong thing.
posted by smirkette at 3:09 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


In that attempted blackmail cable, it doesn't seem like the Pfizer rep even sees what they are doing as blackmail. Judging from his other comments and the matter-of-fact way the blackmail is reported, this is just sound business and maybe even the right thing to do from their perspective. Their sense of morality is so low, so bankrupt, it's past nonexistent.

A Pfizer official in New York denied the accusation.

It's not even really an accusation. It's the Pfizer Nigerian Country Manager just flat-out saying that they hired investigators to dig up dirt and spread it to the Nigerian press, and then him bragging that they have even more "damaging information". He also threatens that no drug companies will help Nigeria anymore and the lawsuits are totally political and unfounded blah blah blah. His statements on the blackmail are of a kind with the other statements, i.e. blatant and unapologetic.
posted by Danila at 3:14 PM on August 15, 2011


I don't undertstand, polio vaccines have been around for along time. I understand the drug trial gone horrid but why would this affect polio vaccines.
posted by clavdivs at 3:23 PM on August 15, 2011


I don't undertstand, polio vaccines have been around for along time. I understand the drug trial gone horrid but why would this affect polio vaccines.

generalized fear of vaccine and medicine.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2011


What's the buying power of 175k US in Nigeria so I know how disgusted to be.
posted by spicynuts at 3:34 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]




$175k is nothing to these people.

Someone should be getting charged with a homicide. Maybe multiple people should get charged with multiple homicides.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Polio vaccines cause aids, will make your testicles shrivel and your womb dry up and fall out, and they are a plot to westernize the region. This is the fox news of sub-saharan Africa and as always, there are fox news viewers everywhere.
posted by tehloki at 4:19 PM on August 15, 2011


$175k is nothing to these people.

It's a settlement, not a jury award. As such it is what it is.

What's the buying power of 175k US in Nigeria so I know how disgusted to be.

Nigeria's goods are valued at 68% of US goods, so this is more like $250K.
posted by dhartung at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2011


I don't undertstand, polio vaccines have been around for along time. I understand the drug trial gone horrid but why would this affect polio vaccines.

Foreigners come to town and start pushing a proceedure on everyone. They don't care who you are, they want to stick this stuff in you.
What? What's in it for them? What is their real purpose?
Now consider that they're the kind of foreigners that have done a lot of really really bad shit to your people in the past.
Also consider that you might also very seriously believe in juju, or other beliefs depending on your area.
Also consider that in the past, "vaccinations" has factually been a front to cover nefarious activities. (A recent high profile, though arguably low-evil case being the Abadabad vaccinations that were really the CIA trying to extract DNA to find out if the locals were related to bin Laden)
Also consider a lot of other things :)

I love vaccines, but in those shoes, I probably wouldn't trust them either.

This is also why it makes me mad when vaccines programs are abused or faked, by people like the CIA - you are killing people when you compromise the integrity of vaccination programs.

I'm also under the vague impression that agencies in the USA have also used vaccinations to infect people with deadly diseases, then offered false and ineffective treatments, so they can study the effects of the disease untreated. Really evil stuff.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:24 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


(A recent high profile, though arguably low-evil case being the Abadabad vaccinations that were really the CIA trying to extract DNA to find out if the locals were related to bin Laden)

The CIA's fake vaccination program in Pakistan reveals the moral bankruptcy of American spooks.
posted by homunculus at 4:36 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A government agency with no transparency, accountability, or oversight is purposefully designed for immorality and abuse of power. Full stop.
posted by notion at 4:50 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'm also under the vague impression that agencies in the USA have also used vaccinations to infect people with deadly diseases, then offered false and ineffective treatments, so they can study the effects of the disease untreated. Really evil stuff."

What you are remembering is probably in here somewhere
posted by Blasdelb at 5:01 PM on August 15, 2011


Or see here for a recent FPP. Short version: US doctors used a public health program in Guatemala to infect people with syphilis in order to see how well penicillin treated it. But really, this was far more moral than many other atrocities carried out by US medical researchers, let alone some of the atrocities carried out by medical researchers overseas.

If I were living in the third world I'd be concerned about the very real possibility that a free vaccination program was a cover for something. When the CIA used a fake vaccination program as a cover it was the moral (and perhaps the legal) equivalent of using ambulances to transport weapons.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:11 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


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