Palace says Sanofi not yet off the hook in Dengvaxia mess

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2018 05:07 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said Sanofi Pasteur should not be too confident that its dengue vaccine did not cause any harm on children who were inoculated with it, after the French vaccine maker rejected the Philippine government’s demand for it to give a refund for the used vaccines.

“Huwag po silang lumakas ang loob dahil hindi pa po tapos ang usapin…Marami pa pong posibleng pananagutan. Kapag napatunayan na alam nila iyong side effect, hindi nila dinisclose, naku, napakalaking danyos po ang puwede nilang bayaran. Hindi lang iyong full reimbursement,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a news conference.

Roque added that Sanofi must be “dreaming if they think they are off the hook” after a panel composed of experts from the Philippine General Hospital said only 3 out of 14 deaths of children vaccinated with Dengvaxia were due to dengue. The panel said two of these three deaths can possibly be attributed to vaccine failure, but added that additional tests still need to be done.

“No one is off the hook at this stage. Dream on, Sanofi,” Roque said.

The French pharmaceutical firm last year said Dengvaxia could lead to more severe symptoms if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne disease before. It paid an initial P1.16 billion refund last month for unused vaccine doses.

Sanofi said it wrote to the Department of Health and "respectfully declined" to refund Manila for used doses and support an indemnification fund.

"Agreeing to refund the used doses of Dengvaxia would imply that the vaccine is ineffective, which is not the case," the firm said in a statement.

Procured in 2016, Dengvaxia was administered to about 837,000 people under a national immunization program, mostly public school students in areas where dengue was reportedly prevalent.

The DOH last year halted its dengue vaccination program after Sanofi's admission.