By Stanley Onyekwere
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting in Gudu District, has struck out the application for the amended writ of summons bought before it by Mustapha Maisikeli against Pfizer Incorporated and three others.
Ruling on the matter yesterday, Hon. Justice A. A. I. Banjoko, averred that “the plaintiffs went beyond the scope of consequential amendment and veered into new facts, new claims which will inevitably change the character and nature of the case originally presented.”
The plaintiffs however asked for time to review the ruling following the continuation of argument on the preliminary objections by the defendants as to the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.
Consequently, the court adjourned matter to the 2nd and 3rd March, 2015.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by Pfizer on the ruling, in Abuja, the company stated: “We are pleased that the FCT High Court has granted Pfizer’s motion to reject the amendments unilaterally made to the lawsuit brought by Maisikeli on behalf of himself and various other individuals who voluntarily signed releases or dismissed their lawsuits against Pfizer with prejudice three years ago, after settling their claims on mutually agreeable terms.
“The Company continues to believe this case is completely groundless and prohibited by unconditional releases signed by these same plaintiffs and delivered to Pfizer as a condition of the 2011 resolution of their similar past litigation against the Company.
“Pfizer has met all of its obligations under the 2009 settlement and the independent Healthcare Meningitis Trust Fund established as part of that settlement has compensated all claimants who it found eligible for financial support under its criteria.
“In addition, the construction of a new hospital – the Diagnostic and Disease Control Center – has been completed under the auspices of the Healthcare Related Programs Trust and is ready to be turned over to the Kano State government.”
Also, the company reaffirmed its stand on Trovan clinical study carried out in 1996, which was conducted with the approval of the government, the consent of the participants’ parents or guardians, and was consistent with Nigerian laws.