Tuesday, January 18, 2022

U.S. court reopens lawsuit against Pfizer and others over alleged financing of Iraqi terrorism

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FILE PHOTO: In this photo taken on September 29, 2021, the 3D-printed Pfizer logo is placed next to the medicines of the same manufacturer. / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

() – On Tuesday, a U.S. appeals court reopened a lawsuit against AstraZeneca, Pfizer and other companies alleging that contracts with the Iraqi Ministry of Health helped finance terrorism that killed Americans during the Iraq war.

The plaintiffs allege that the Hezbollah-sponsored Jaish al-Mahdi police group controlled the Iraqi Ministry of Health and that 21 defendants made corrupt payments to obtain medical supply contracts from U.S. and European medical supply and manufacturing companies. .

The companies denied any wrongdoing. Representatives of five corporate groups – AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare USA Holding, Johnson & Johnson Pfizer and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. – did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit, reopened by the U.S. District Court of Columbia, was filed by the families of those killed in attacks by the Mahdi group in Iraq. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2020.

Lawyer Kannon Shanmugam, who filed the appeal on behalf of the companies, did not immediately comment.

Family members’ attorney Joshua Branson also did not immediately comment.

The companies’ lawyers appealed to the Iraqi government after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which ousted President Saddam Hussein, stating that “life-saving breast cancer treatment, hemophilia injections, ultrasound examinations, electrocardiogram machines and other medical supplies, ”he said. .

In September, Shanmugam said the ruling against the companies in court “would have a serious impact on the willingness of companies and NGOs to carry out important activities at the request of the government in troubled areas.”

Interview by Mike Scarcella; Edited by Grant McCool

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