By Henry Umahi
Renowned Clinician and International Neuroscientist, Professor Philip C. Njemanze, has said that Nigerians should not be used as Guinea pigs in the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said: “I think we should first talk about Pfizer and their unethical practice of testing new drugs on Nigerians. The landmark case called the Abdullahi v. Pfizer, Inc. Kano trovafloxacin trial litigation arose out of a clinical trial conducted by the Pfizer based in the USA in 1996 in Kano during the meningococcal meningitis. The epidemic had much more important health impact because over 12,000 Nigerians died, than we have with the COVID-19 pandemic. Pfizer exploited the terrible health emergency in Nigeria to test their new antibiotic, trovafloxacin (Trovan), which was never tested before on children in the United States. Pfizer gave 100 children trovafloxacin, while another 100 received the gold-standard anti-meningitis treatment, ceftriaxone (Rocephin).
“Pfizer allegedly gave the Nigerian children a substantially reduced dose of the active Gold-standard drug ceftriaxone (specifically, 33mg/kg) instead of the normal dose of up to 100 mg/Kg of body weight for meningitis. On the other hand, the doctors without borders performing their own clinical trial in the same hospital gave the correct dose of the Rocephin at 50-100 mg/Kg, as described on the US FDA-approved prescribing information. The allegation was that this was done to skew the test in favor of Pfizer’s own drug at the detriment of the innocent Nigerian children who were left to die, even though they could have lived otherwise. Five children given the Pfizer Trovan died, as did six of those given substandard dose of ceftriaxone. The lead investigator, Abdulhamid Isa Dutse, later provided a letter of approval for human trials that was found to be falsified. The Federal Government of Nigeria called the trial ‘an illegal trial of an unregistered drug.’ The Nigerian survivors of the trial brought a number of legal actions against Pfizer in the United States, but all legal efforts of the Nigerians were frustrated. Pfizer argued that it was not required to obtain informed consent for experimental drug trials in Africa, and that any case should be heard in Nigeria. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in January 2009, that the Nigerian victims and their families were entitled to bring suit against Pfizer in the United States under the Alien Tort Statute. Pfizer subsequently settled the case out of court with the Kano State Government with a $75 million settlement that was subject to a confidentiality clause.
“How do we know, what is really being given to Nigerians? Has it ever undergone clinical trial in Nigeria by our physicians and NAFDAC? The use of the vaccines without proper testing procedures in Nigeria is in violation of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We cannot expose our people blindly to grave danger.”