Pfizer, the $50-billion US pharmaceutical giant, had hired investigators ''to uncover corruption links'' against a former Nigerian attorney general to pressure him to drop a $6-billion lawsuit against the company, according to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and published by the Guardian newspaper.
The Nigerian federal government and Nigeria's Kano state had filed a $6-billion lawsuit and criminal charges against the world's largest pharmaceutical company over clandestine testing of the drugmaker's meningitis drug Trovan.
In 1996, Pfizer conducted an untested oral version of the antibiotic Trovan during an outbreak of a meningitis epidemic in Kano state at a Nigerian hospital.
The company's researchers selected 200 children, half of whom were given the experimental Trovan antibiotic, while the other half were administered a comparison drug.
However, the company carried out the test without obtaining signed consent forms from the parents of the children, nor did it disclose that it was conducting experimental tests.
During the trials 11 children died and dozens of others suffered brain damage, paralysis, deafness or blindness.