MANILA - Former Health Secretary Janette Garin and 38 others are facing new complaints over the purchase and use of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine for the now halted nationwide anti-dengue program.
Assisted by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), couple Gerardo and Marissa De Luna from Quezon province filed on Tuesday a complaint against Garin and several others before the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the death of their 12-year-old daughter.
It was the 32nd complaint lodged against the former health chief for procurement and use of the vaccine, which drew controversy in late 2017 after its maker Sanofi Pasteur warned that it may cause severe symptoms if administered on one who had never contracted dengue.
The De Lunas claimed their daughter died in Nov. 2017 after allegedly receiving 3 shots of the vaccine in June 2016, Dec. 2016, and June 2017.
They said their daughter suffered pain in her palms and feet until her hands and knees became swollen that she could no longer walk. She later on vomited, experienced nose bleeding, and had difficulty breathing.
The De Lunas charged Garin with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, torture, and violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
Also named in the complaint were officials of French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur; officials of vaccine distributor Zuellig Pharma Corp; doctors of the Department of Health and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine who conducted clinical trials; officers of the Food and Drug Administration who approved the Dengvaxia vaccine’s certificate of product registration; and two doctors from the Philippine Children's Medical Center who allegedly facilitated the purchase of the vaccine.
The DOH and several experts have insisted that there was no established link between Dengvaxia and the deaths allegedly due to the vaccine.
Thirty-one other Dengvaxia-related complaints are currently pending before the DOJ.
Two batches of complaints have so far been submitted for resolution and are expected to be resolved by two panels of prosecutors early this year.
The preliminary investigation on the third batch of 13 Dengvaxia-related complaints started on Tuesday.