Four pharmaceutical giants will have to answer to charges that they paid bribes to win healthcare contracts in Iraq and in the process funded terrorists who killed Americans during the war.
The unusual complaint was filed in 2017 and dismissed three years later by a U.S. district court judge in Washington, D.C. But this week, a U.S. appeals court overturned (PDF) the previous decision, a move that will force Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Roche and Johnson & Johnson to defend themselves anew. A panel of three circuit court judges agreed unanimously to revive the lawsuit.
In a joint statement, the companies denied any wrongdoing.
“Further proceedings will show the companies are not responsible in any way,” they said to Reuters.
The amended complaint seeks damages under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act on behalf of 395 Americans who were killed or wounded in Iraq between 2005 and 2011.
The suit, which also includes GE Healthcare, accuses the companies of making corrupt payments to the terrorists who ran Iraq’s health ministry. The suit claims that the companies obtained the contracts through bribes which financed terrorist attacks on Americans.