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Nine families whose children suffered brain damage apparently as a result of being fed the Remedia soy-based milk substitute product have reached an agreement with the company whereby they are to be compensated with an advance payment of NIS 1 million, the lawyer for the families said Wednesday.

Tzvi Yelinik said the compensation was an "advance payment on expenses" and added that four children of his clients remain hospitalized.

Yelinik said negotiations between Remedia and the families started some six weeks ago and noted that "due to the sad affair - in which children were seriously harmed - we adopted unusual measures. Ordinarily, in cases such as this, there are no advance payments."

He added that the nine families have not yet filed suits against Remedia in the court system because the extent of the harm caused to their children has not yet been determined.

Children harmed by the Remedia product who have already been released from hospital continue to suffer from hearing, vision, nervous system and other health problems, Yelinik said.

"The NIS 1 million was provided by all the involved parties, including the German Humana company," a Remedia statement said. "We are not taking responsibility for the guilt and liability, but rather for the care of the suffering families."

"The payments were made in order to reduce the families' suffering despite the fact there is no certainty even some of the children were harmed by the product," Remedia lawyer Ehud Saul said. "Even if it does become clear that the infants - some of them or all of them - were not harmed by consumption of the product, we will not demand the return of the payments."

"Remedia has, over the past while, made payments to various families as humanitarian aid. Contact was made between Remedia and Yelinik, the representative of the nine families whose children were hospitalized.

"Remedia decided for humanitarian reasons to ease the families' suffering and to grant them various sums of money. Remedia wants to emphasize that the families' claims were not examined before the payments were made and the payments are not, of course, an admission of responsibility," Saul said.

He added that "the payments were made in order to allow medical experts to determine whether the infants were, in fact, harmed by the product imported from Humana by Remedia."