News of the WeekHUMAN RESEARCH

Nigerian Families Sue Pfizer, Testing the Reach of U.S. Law

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Science  07 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5536, pp. 1742
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5536.1742

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In a case that could create new liabilities for U.S. research conducted abroad, 30 Nigerian families have sued pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., alleging that the company unethically tested an antibiotic on their children during a 1996 meningitis outbreak. The unusual suit--filed by foreign citizens in a U.S. court under a 210-year-old U.S. law originally designed to combat pirates--seeks to recover unspecified damages from the company for death and serious disabilities.