DOH no longer keen on buying vaccines from Sanofi, says official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 06 2018 09:10 PM | Updated as of Aug 26 2018 09:32 AM

Critics raise fears of severe side-effects on recipients of Dengvaxia, the program's vaccine, based on recent findings of manufacturer Sanofi-Pasteur. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) is no longer keen on acquiring vaccines from French drug-maker Sanofi Pasteur following a health scare over its dengue vaccine.

Speaking to ANC, Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said the department is searching for other pharmaceutical firms to supply vaccines to the country.

"The Secretary [Francisco Duque] is now really looking for other manufacturers and other suppliers for these. We hope to find some," he said.

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Sanofi has been at the center of a health controversy after it disclosed that its Dengvaxia vaccine may cause severe symptoms of dengue if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne illness. 

On Monday, the pharmaceutical giant declined a demand from the Philippine government to fully refund the P3.5 billion spent on its anti-dengue vaccine. 

Domingo said the health department is eyeing taking legal measures against Sanofi but did not detail further.

Aside from Dengvaxia, Domingo said he has been told that the Philippines has acquired 2 other vaccines from Sanofi--for the prevention of rabies and measles.

"Unless we really, really have to, I don't think we're going to buy from Sanofi unless we're really forced and we have no other choice," he said.