DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Sanofi Pasteur to be held responsible for the Dengvaxia controversy.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday Duterte is supporting the Health Secretary Francisco Doque’s position to hold Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of Dengvaxia vaccine accountable for the dengue vaccine controversy.
This as Roque confirmed that once the investigation of the Senate and the Department of Justice is concluded, the Chief Executive will run after all individuals responsible for the mess.
“We want, by way of mere, by way of minimum, a refund of what we have paid already for the Dengvaxia. That’s the declaration already of the DOH Secretary,” he said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said they would demand a refund of the PHP3.5 billion paid for Dengvaxia.
Former Health Secretary Janette Garin stood firm there was no corruption and negligence involved in the P3.5 billion anti-dengue immunization program implemented by the department in 2016.
Garin even said the implementation of the anti-dengue vaccine was a unanimous decision of the Health department during her time.
The vaccine came under fire after Sanofi admitted that it might increase the risk for severe dengue in those who had no prior dengue infections.
More than 830,000 school children have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia under the DOH’s dengue immunization program, which Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has suspended.
When she faced the Senate Blue Ribbon and Health CommitteesMonday, Garin insisted “Wala po itong corruption at pagmamadali dahil matagal na itong pinag usapan at pinlano (There was no corruption, not rushly done because we talked about it and planned carefully) as she stressed other countries also used the same vaccine.
The Health department’s anti-dengue program created fear among thousands of parents after Sanofi Pasteur revealed that the vaccine could pose serious heath risk to those who received it.
Duque immediately stopped the anti-dengue immunization program days after its manufacturer revealed their findings.
Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial during the Senate hearing suggested thatnew vaccines should be introduced eve of teh electionssaying “No matter how good that vaccine is, the introduction during an election year would taint it.”
Ubia told the Committee she intentionally delayed the implementation during her term because of the safety issue.
But Garin during the hearingappealed to the public to wait for the assessment and opinion of health experts before judging the issue, saying she repeatedly asked the World Health Organization in Geneva about the vaccines and she was told it is not harmful.
She even said when a drug is issued licensed it means it is safe.
Garin admitted that she met with officials of Sanofi Pasteur in Paris two years ago to discuss the pharmaceutical firm’s now-controversial anti dengue vaccine.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph
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