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Put up fund for Dengvaxia ‘victims,’ Sanofi urged

  • Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 374

A HOUSE leader on Sunday urged French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi S.A. to put up a
fund that would “secure Filipino families against any loss or financial burden” suffered due to its
faulty anti-dengue vaccine.

“It is high time for Sanofi to comply with Health Secretary Francisco Duque’s request for an
indemnity fund to pay for the treatment of Filipino school children rendered sick after receiving
Dengvaxia shots,” said Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, who chairs the House committee on good
government and public accountability.
    
Pimentel made the statement amid reports of mounting cases of Dengvaxia-related
hospitalization and, in extreme instances, deaths among Filipino children.
    
His panel will reopen this Monday its inquiry into the previous administration’s
controversial 2015 purchase of some P3.5 billion worth of Dengvaxia vaccines.
    
“This will be our first hearing since Sanofi released the negative findings of its long-term
follow-up study which showed that children who never had dengue but who were given the shots had an
increased risk of a severe case and hospitalization from the third year after immunization,” said
Pimentel.
    
House senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito
Atienza filed the new resolution enabling the reopening of the inquiry, according to Pimentel.
    
Pimentel earlier warned that officials found liable for the botched purchase of Dengvaxia
shots are bound to face graft charges for a transaction “that may be deemed manifestly and grossly
disadvantageous to the government.”
    
On Sunday, Pimentel said graft charges may be warranted against the officials involved even
if they did not make any money for themselves from the transaction.
    
“Under the law, officials may be held accountable for corrupt and unlawful acts, such as
entering into highly injurious purchase contracts, without any need to establish that they profited
from the transaction,” said Pimentel.
    
Under the previous administration, then Health Secretary Janette Garin, the Philippines
became the first country in the world to launch in April 2016 a public inoculation plan against
dengue using Dengvaxia.
    
The Department of Health (DoH) has since suspended the anti-dengue immunization drive, after
Sanofi conceded that Dengvaxia could worsen symptoms for vaccinated children who contracted the
disease for the first time.