After nine years of legal action Pfizer has finally reached an out of court settlement with a Nigerian state after children died and were disabled in an unapproved drug trial on children during a 1996 meningitis epidemic.

A Washington Post report stated "the trial did not conform to U.S. patient-protection standards and that the oral form of the drug used in the trial had not been previously tested in children". "Pfizer had no signed consent forms for the children" and "the company relied on a falsified ethics approval letter".

The Washington Post obtained and published the Nigerian Health Ministry's report, which concluded that Pfizer had violated Nigerian and international law. Pfizer's experiment was "an illegal trial of an unregistered drug", the Nigerian panel concluded, and a "clear case of exploitation of the ignorant."

In 2007, Nigeria's federal government and the state of Kano filed four civil and criminal actions against Pfizer and 10 individuals, including former Pfizer chief executive William C. Steere Jr. The actions sought $9 billion in restitution and damages, and included 31 criminal counts, including homicide. The settlement details remain private, but sources close to the negotiations said the total payments - including those to the children, their families, the government and the government's attorneys - would be about $75 million.

The saga involved legal action for 8 years by Richard Altschuler and also became the plot of a novel and resulted in a film of the same name being produced. The British Independent also wrote an article on this story here.