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More deaths attributed to dengue vaccine; Sanofil refunds P1.1 B

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By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE

 

(Photo from Philippine Star)

 

MANILA — More deaths are being attributed to the use of the controversial Dengvaxia dengue vaccine as the Department of Justice and the Public Attorney's Office continue their investigation and readying appropriate charges.

 

This developed as, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III revealed Sanofi Pasteur, the pharmaceutical firm who made and sold the vaccine to the Philippines where some 800,000 children were vaccinated has agreed to refund P1.4 billion to the government.

 

At press time, Sanofil has turned over P1.1 billion in refund, Duque told Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda and provincial officials in a meeting in San Fernando, Pampanga.

 

Duque, at the same time, assured Pampanga residents of DOH assistance.

 

Malacanang described as “a step in the right direction” the decision of pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur to refund some P1.4 billion worth of unused Dengvaxia vaccine.

 

“We welcome that refund but the position of the DOH (Department of Health) is for a full refund. Now, nonetheless, we view this latest step of pharmaceutical company as a step in the right direction,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

 

Roque, however, said the refund should not affect the ongoing investigations “which will ultimate determine whether or not there is a criminal culpability on the party of Sanofi.”

 

The French pharmaceutical firm has reportedly announced it heeded the DOH’s demand to reimburse for the doses of Dengvaxia that were not used by the government in the public vaccination program.

 

The DOH suspended its dengue vaccination program after Sanofi Pasteur disclosed last November that Dengvaxia could result in severe dengue among those who had not been infected by the dengue virus before receiving the vaccine.

 

At the time of the disclosure, more than 830,000 public school children had already been vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

 

Earlier, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III urged the DOH to ask for a full refund of the P3.5 billion used for the entire contract of Dengvaxia vaccine. 

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