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Pfizer meningitis study in Nigeria: Judge halts $86m settlement

A Nigerian judge has stopped the payment of a $US75 million ($A86 million) settlement involving a 1996 Pfizer meningitis drug study that families say killed children in the West African nation.

Judge Gabriel Kolawole issued an order on Tuesday stopping payment to 192 families and victims of the clinical trial. Kolawole also ordered DNA tests to determine who received the drug be halted over disputes by families refusing the test.

Nigeria alleges that Pfizer conducted illegal meningitis-drug experiments, resulting in deaths, brain damage, paralysis and slurred speech in many of the children involved in the 1996 study. Pfizer denies the charge and says its scientists acted lawfully and in keeping with professional standards while testing the drug, Trovan.