US Court Revives Lawsuit Against Pfizer and Other on Iraq Terrorism Funding Claims
(Reuters) (Reuters) – A U.S. appels court revived Tuesday a lawsuit filed against AstraZeneca and Pfizer over allegations that their contracts with Iraq’s Health Ministry aided in financing terrorist acts that killed Americans during the conflict.
The plaintiffs argue that the militia group Jaysh al-Mahdi, sponsored by Hezbollah, controlled Iraq’s health ministry and that the 21 defendant U.S. and European medical manufacturing and supply firms made corrupt payments to secure medical supply contracts.
The companies have denied any wrongdoing. Representatives from the five corporate groups – AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare USA Holding, Johnson & Johnson Pfizer and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc – did not immediately respond to requests for information.
The lawsuit, which was reopened by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was filed by relatives of victims of attacks in Iraq by the Mahdi group. In 2020 the federal trial judge dismissed the suit.
Lawyer Kannon Shanmugam, who represented the companies in the appeal was not immediately available to respond.
Joshua Branson, the lawyer representing the family members did not comment immediately.
The lawyers for the companies told the court that they had provided the Iraqi government “life-saving breast cancer treatments, hemophilia injections ultrasounds, electrocardiogram machines, and other medical goods” after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq toppled strongman president Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Shanmugam declared in court that a decision against the businesses would “have an adverse impact on the willingness of companies or non-governmental organizations to undertake vital activities, often at the request of the government, in areas that are troubled.”