Recto demands refund for dengue vaccines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 05 2017 05:06 PM

A pharmacist shows boxes of Devangxia vaccine inside a vaccine refrigerator at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center on Friday. The Department of Health imposed a suspension on the immunization of the anti-dengue vaccine produced by the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, after the company released a report on the potential risks of the vaccine to those who were not previously infected by the dengue virus. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Dengue vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur should reimburse government P3.5 billion after it sold "faulty" drugs to the Philippines in 2015, a senator said Tuesday.

Under the Procurement Law, "all government purchases are mandatorily covered by warranty," Recto said in a statement.

Last week, Sanofi admitted that "severe dengue" may develop in individuals who have never contracted dengue, but was vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

"RA 9184 has an anti-lemon provision. It is discussed extensively in Section 62, which deals with faulty, defective substandard goods and services. The bottomline is that the government is entitled to restitution," Recto said.

"The no return, no exchange policy does not apply to government purchases... Kung ang isang bagay na nabili, tulad ng gamot, ay hindi pwede palitan, kasi wala namang ipapalit, then government can demand reimbursement," he said.

(The no return, no exchange policy does not apply to government purchases. If an item, like medicine, cannot be exchanged because there is no alternative product, then the government can demand reimbursement.)

The Philippines bought at least 3 million doses in 2015 for P3 billion to strengthen its anti-dengue campaign. It was meant to immunize one million public school students.

Duque said about P1.4 billion worth of Dengvaxia remain in stock.

Recto said if Sanofi refuses to grant a reimbursement, "properties shall be subject to attachment or garnishment proceedings to recover the costs."

Recto said among the companies who had to pay fines or "settle obligations with government for operational oversights committed" are Uber, Metrobank, RCBC, and Philippine Airlines.

"This is a standard clause in government contracts. Kung wala ito sa kontrata sa pagbili ng bakuna, may natulog sa pansitan," Recto said.
 
(This is a standard clause in government contracts. If this provision was not included in the vaccine procurement contract, it means someone slept on the job.)

On Monday, the Department of Justice launched an investigation into the procurement and use of the dengue vaccine for over 700,000 children.

The Department of Health has also suspended its anti-dengue vaccine program, and the Food and Drug Administration ordered the pullout of Dengvaxia from the market.