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March 26, 2023
A federal judge this week allowed a lawsuit to go forward that accuses five major pharmaceutical manufacturers of making payments to an Iraqi militia group in order to secure hefty contracts with the country’s health ministry.
In agreement with a previous 2022 ruling that allowed the suit to move forward, the five big pharma companies, Pfizer Inc, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., AstraZeneca Plc., Healthcare USA Holding, and Johnson & Johnson were unable this week in having the suit dismissed. The complaint, which was originally filed in 2020, accuses the pharmaceutical companies of making payments to Iraqi militia group Jaysh al-Mahdi, an offshoot of Hezbollah, in order to enter into high-level contracts with the Iraqi Health Ministry.
The suit was filed by a group of United States military members and their families, accusing the companies’ payments to Jaysh al-Mahdi of funding terrorism that ultimately led to the death of American servicemembers. The United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled this week that the lawsuit could proceed in spite of a petition by Pfizer and Roche asking for it to be thrown out.
The pharma companies have indicated they will seek alternative legal avenues in the case, and have denied any ties to terrorist organizations. In a joint statement this week, according to Reuters, the companies say they “vigorously dispute the plaintiffs’ allegations in this case, and are not responsible in any way for the tragic events that were caused and carried out by Iraqi militia groups.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: FOX NEWS