Pfizer have said before that their drug was “safe for children.”  This was before the scandals broke out, and the lawsuits, before the accusations of international crimes and extreme ethics violations, outraged parents and nearly 200 children reportedly killed and maimed in one experimental trial.  

Despite paying $75 million in one lawsuit, Pfizer continues to deny any wrongdoing or liability in their infamous medical trial which began with one simple claim: “These drugs are safe for your children.”

Pfizer Experimented On Children and the Community Paid the Price

In 1996, Pfizer, the transnational multi-billionare pharmaceutical company, was eagerly working to bring a new drug to market – Trovan.  It was still in the clinical stage of development when Pfizer made a decision that reportedly cost the lives of many children, and opened up an international firestorm. 

Pfizer took their unlicensed Trovan to Kano, Nigeria during a meningitis outbreak, though Trovan had never been tested in children or against meningitis.  According to Pfizer whistleblower, Dr. Juan Walterspiel, the staff that Pfizer sent to Kano were unskilled doctors, unlicensed to practice medicine in Nigeria, with limited experience treating meningitis in children.  Dr. Walterspiel further reports that the staff were so unskilled that they could not place IV lines, and quickly resorted to giving the children oral Trovan. 

In the short two weeks Pfizer was in Kano, they worked with 200 children, and gave 99 of the children only unlicensed Trovan, despite the children’s desperate state.  Pfizer did this even though Doctors Without Borders were operating in the same Kano hospital, treating children for free with medicine proven to work well against bacterial meningitis. 

Doctors Without Borders realized what Pfizer was doing and “were shocked that Pfizer continued the so-called scientific work in the middle of hell.”  They “communicated their concerns to both Pfizer and the local authorities.”

Pfizer gave the other 101 children Ceftriaxone which has proven effective for meningitis.  However, they gave many children only 1/3 of the appropriate dose, ‘low-dosing’ them.  Because they did not have enough skilled medical personnel to give it by IV, they injected it directly into the children’s butts or thighs.  But “the shots were severely painful, leading to ‘great fear and sometimes dangerous struggles with children.’”  So Pfizer lowered the dose significantly to ease the severe pain caused by the shots. 

Pfizer said available data indicated the dose remained more than sufficient, but the drug’s manufacturer, Hoffmann-La Roche, said the reductions could have sapped the drug’s strength. ‘A high dose is essential,’ Hoffmann-La Roche medical director Mark Kunkel said. ‘Clinical failures…and perhaps deaths of children could have resulted from the low dosing.’”

lawsuit against Pfizer states that “five of the children who received Trovan and six of the children who were ‘low-dosed’ with ceftriaxone died, and others treated by Pfizer suffered very serious injuries, including paralysis, deafness and blindness.”

181 children who dealt with Pfizer were reportedly gravely injured, and 11 died. 

The Washington Post investigated Pfizer’s ethics, stating, “Some medical experts questioned why the company did not switch to the proven pills when it was clear the young patients were approaching death.” 

“It could be considered murder,” said Evariste Lodi, the leading Doctors Without Borders physician in Kano, after reading a report that Pfizer kept a child solely on Trovan until they died.  In a statement about the child’s death, a Pfizer spokeswoman said “researchers had no reason to suspect the experimental medicine was not working.”  Pfizer also said that Trovan was “at least as effective as the gold standard treatment,” despite it having never been used in children or for meningitis.

Pfizer designed the clinical trial in Kano “in six weeks, though the risks and complications of such a trial would typically require a year to adequately assess,” said The Atlantic

The parents in Kano have maintained that they were not notified of an experiment.  Pfizer did not have their consent to use their children in a drug trial in the middle of a health crisis.  They organized to sue the transnational Pfizer, while caring for children injured during the experiment.  Pfizer continues to say that the Nigerian parents gave full consent for their critically-ill children to be used in an experiment, though even Pfizer admits that no parent ever signed a consent form.

The lawsuits dragged on for years as Pfizer refused to admit it did anything wrong.  “We are fed up with this case.  Our children are dead and some are maimed,” said a father who lost his daughter.

Pfizer says “that the trial was conducted appropriately, ethically and with the best interests of patients in mind; and it helped save lives.”  However, even the approval letter Pfizer submitted to the FDA about the Kano trial was exposed by a Nigerian doctor, who said that his “office backdated an approval letter and this may have been written a year after the study had taken place.” 

The community of Kano has been profoundly affected: “the experiment shaped public perception of Western drugs in the region. Parents told their children about it. Teachers lectured about Pfizer in classrooms. Pundits spoke of Western physicians seeking human guinea pigs.”

Pfizer acknowledged the severe nature of the meningitis outbreak to a Nigerian investigative committee, then said “Pfizer’s intervention was therefore strictly a humanitarian gesture aimed at saving lives.  It was totally devoid of any commercial undertones.”  And then they called it “the humanitarian trial.” 

“If I had the power, I would take away their medical licenses,” said Evariste Lodi of Doctors Without Borders, who witnessed Pfizer’s experiment in Kano.

Pfizer’s Trovan History Gets Worse

In the initial development of Trovan, Pfizer whistleblower Dr. Juan Walterspiel reports that Pfizer tried another study and “the study failed and several patients developed severe post-operative infections and one woman had her uterus removed.  Pfizer dispatched risk managers and asked affected patients and relatives to fill out checks for whatever amount they felt right against their signature to keep the payments confidential.”

Pfizer made no such offer in Kano.  The families of Kano had to sue Pfizer repeatedly, and received no compensation until nearly 15 years after the incident occurred.

Pfizer did not let these mere setbacks of death, maiming, and international scandals deter them in the least, and within a few short years brought Trovan to market in both the United States and Europe.

Expecting to reap financial windfalls, Pfizer marketed the drug as only they can, but then discovered the public in both Europe and the United States was reeling from liver damage, liver failure, and death as a result of taking Trovan.  Reports of adverse reactions grew until Europe took Trovan off the market completely and the FDA severely restricted the public’s access.

New York Times article detailed how Trovan’s serious side effects only became known after it was given to the public: “The case showed how a new drug, marketed by an expert like Pfizer, could be swiftly prescribed to thousands of patients before all the side effects were known. Pfizer said its tests of Trovan had not revealed any serious problems.” 

William C. Steere Jr., chairman of Pfizer, acknowledged that some side effects only become known after a drug is approved, saying, ”You put the drug in the general population, and then everyone is taking it.  We just hold our breath and wait to see if there is something unique with the drug.”

“If I Had An Enemy, I Would Not Let Him Take Their Drugs”

Pfizer was repeatedly sued in Nigeria and the United States for its actions in Kano.

In 2009, Pfizer agreed to pay $75 million, despite initially being sued for $8.5 billion, and involved themselves in several more scandals that exploded when Wikileaks published several U.S. Embassy cables detailing Pfizer’s communications.

A Pfizer lawyer described in the cables that “Pfizer has worked closely with former Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon.  Gowan spoke with Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who directed the Kano AG to reduce the settlement demand from $150 million to $75 million.”

In another cable, a top Pfizer representative in Nigeria said, “Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases.  Pfizer’s investigators were passing this information to local media.  A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa’s ‘alleged’ corruption ties were published in February and March.” 

A cable showed a Pfizer representative commenting that “Doctors Without Borders administered Trovan to other children during the 1996 meningitis epidemic and the Nigerian government has taken no action.”  This prompted Doctors Without Borders to publish a strongly-worded press release stating that they certainly did not give anyone Trovan and were in fact the first to speak out about Pfizer’s unethical actions.  

Finally, the cables showed that “Pfizer was not happy settling the case, but had come to the conclusion that the $75 million figure was reasonable because the suits had been ongoing for many years costing Pfizer more than $15 million a year in legal and investigative fees.”  The original lawsuit had sought $8.5 billion and prison terms for Pfizer officials.

Scandals continued even after the case was settled, when Pfizer demanded that anyone collecting the money give a sample of their DNA.  Several people refused, distrusting what Pfizer may do with their DNA after their previous experience with the company.  They were not allowed to get compensation as a result. 

Pfizer says they “always acted in the best interest of the children involved, using the best medical knowledge available.”

Najib Ibrahim of Kano says of Pfizer, “If I had an enemy, I would not let him take their drugs.”  Abdul Murtala said, “Pfizer reminds me of recklessness with human lives.” 

The Pattern Continues

Maddie de Garay was 12 when she voluntarily participated in Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine trial for 12-15 year olds in Ohio.  After she took the second dose on January 20, 2021, her life completely changed.

Her mother, Stephanie de Garay, spoke at press conference in June held by Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and described the maiming of her child and Pfizer’s disregard towards Maddie and the family, despite Maddie being part of the trial in order to determine whether Pfizer’s covid vaccine is safe for children.

Stephanie said, “All we want is for Maddie to be seen, heard, and believed because she hasn’t been.  And we want her to get the care that she desperately needs so that she can go back to normal.  She was totally fine before this.  They’re not helping her.”

Stephanie states that within 24 hours of the second dose, Maddie “developed severe abdominal and chest pain.  She had painful electrical shocks down her neck and spine that forced her to walk hunched over.  She had extreme pain in her fingers and toes.” 

Maddie went to the ER immediately as the family had been instructed by Pfizer’s vaccine trial administrator.  After running a few tests, she was sent home with a diagnosis: “Adverse effect of vaccine initial encounter.”  In the first five months after getting her second dose, Maddie would return to the ER eight more times.

Maddie’s mother Stephanie describes that, “Over the next 2.5 months, her abdominal, muscle and nerve pain became unbearable.  She developed additional symptoms that included gastroparesis, nausea and vomiting, erratic blood pressure and heart rate, memory loss, brain fog, headaches, dizziness, fainting, and then seizures.  She developed verbal and motor tics, she had loss of feeling from the waist down and muscle weakness, drastic changes in her vision, urinary retention and loss of bladder control, severely irregular and heavy menstrual cycles, and eventually she had to have an NG tube put in to get nutrition.  All of these symptoms are still here today.  Some days are worse than others.”

Maddie’s doctors began to suggest that Maddie had “functional neurologic disorder due to anxiety” and even tried to admit her to a mental hospital.  Her family fought it.

It took five months for Maddie to get an MRI of her brain and appropriate blood tests, which she got when her family went elsewhere for medical advice after talking to others who have also been adversely affected by the covid-19 vaccines. 

Stephanie de Garay said: “What I want to ask is: Maddie volunteered for the Pfizer trial.  Why aren’t they researching her to figure out why this happened so other people don’t have to go through this?  Instead, they’re just saying it’s ‘mental.’”

The de Garay family has joined with newly-emerging grassroots advocacy groups full of people whose lives suddenly changed after they got a covid vaccine.  They are asking the CDC and FDA to recognize their injuries, the medical community to believe and help them, the media to share their stories, for the public to know about these injuries as part of informed consent, and for their injuries to be studied so that solutions can be found.  Since being injured by new vaccines still in stage 3 trials, they have been subjected to stonewalling, cover ups, bullying, refusal to collect the data, and blanket denials. 

Pfizer has not commented publicly on Maddie’s case. 

At the September FDA Advisory meeting on Pfizer covid boosters in the U.S., Steve Kirsch, Executive Director of the Covid-19 Early Treatment Fund, stated that Pfizer did not record Maddie’s extensive injuries in the their trial results.  He notes that Pfizer marked the entirety of Maddie’s injuries as “abdominal pain.”  Steve reported Pfizer’s fraud to FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, but no investigation regarding Pfizer erasing Maddie’s extensive injuries from their trial data for children has occurred. 

Pfizer says its new covid vaccine is safe for children.  But can they be trusted?

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