Wednesday 23 May 2007

The Pfizer Drug Trial

A leaked report

There is a need to follow-up on the blog I wrote about Humanitarian Pfizer before a number of points I raised are misconstrued and misinterpreted.

Nowhere was I commending Kano State for refusing to have children vaccinated, rather, I was highlighting the fact that their refusal must have been as a result of the experience they had with Pfizer and the supposed unapproved and illegal drug trials that took place.

Apparently, there was a report completed five years ago which is still confidential and under wraps that details to a greater extent how papers were forged granting access to this demographic and the possibility that no drugs were tested on some the children presumably affected.

The problem here is that the report has not been released to public scrutiny and what we know of it is due to some unauthorised leakages and no official has necessarily corroborated what has been relayed from that report, however, we now have names and titles of the Nigerian personnel who believe they were first cajoled and then kept in the dark about what Pfizer was up to.

Panel Faults Pfizer in '96 Clinical Trial In Nigeria - - Thanks to Snazzy for the link.

Hence what we really have to go on in the public domain is the detail covered by the news in terms of the new court case filed a few days ago where the numbers and the events seem to be at variance with the yet confidential report - the truth will out.

The bane of intellectual blind-sidedness

I also refuse to be challenged from the emotive perspective that if I had children, I would not have refused their testing for polio and the consequent necessary vaccination.

The commentator speaks from the comfort of an educated pedestal without appreciating the composition of the said demographic not having been deceived into offering children for trialling an unproven and untried drug in the midst of a seeming pandemic; all in the guise that they were being helped and this was approved by both the government and supported by the WHO.

The people affected in Kano State were attended to in a field hospital and probably not knowledgeable or literate enough to appreciate what was being done or attempted on their children and after The Washington Post blew this rotten exercise wide open in 2000; 4 years after the said events, it was only an expected human reaction to resist any Western medicine offers for mass immunisation in the light of such previous cajoling, deception and betrayal of trust.

Pfizer in the courts

Pfizer would contend that they obtained verbal consent of the parents when they should have only gone ahead with informed consent, a higher standard of ethical probity as required in the West.

It would appear Pfizer once had a statement about the drug tests in Nigeria, but that article can no more be found on Pfizer's site. In all, 4 court cases have been through the US courts and they have mainly been dismissed on grounds of forum non conveniens, basically, issues of jurisdiction rather than substantive misgivings on the merits of the case.

At least, Pfizer has waived possible statute of limitation problems, which means this case might run for years till some sort of resolution is reached.

Hopefully, there would be a judge ready to hear this case and get to the heart of the matter, it might also require lobbying Congress to come down heavily on rich drug companies that take advantage of helpless, poor and illiterate people to attempt dangerous drug trials outside the purvey of their government and judicial processes.

You only have to do a search on Google for Drug Trials Africa to see how much we in Africa have become a continent of guinea pigs for Big Pharma.

So, once again, in the circumstances, I can understand why the Muslim North in Nigeria were against vaccination, though it was ill-judged and wrong; they definitely were not going to be guinea pigs in another macabre drugs trial - the government had to institute serious confidence re-building measures to get the people to acquiesce to hopefully an honest activity of really saving life with drugs that really do work.

Drug Trial links

Kano Trovafloxacin trial litigation - 4 cases brought in the States since 2001

Nigerians in drug trial take their case to US court - Raufu 326 (7395): 899 -- BMJ

Nigeria: 1996 Drug Trial - Kano State Sues Pfizer for $2.7bn

Good Clinical Practice

London Drug Trial Catastrophe - Collapse of Science and Ethics

Drug Trials

The Constant Gardener

Nigeria's drug trial fears

Researcher received undisclosed payments of 300,000 dollars from Pfizer - unrelated but relevant

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