Published: Thu, March 01, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Ex-pres. Aquino faces Dengvaxia probe at House

Ex-pres. Aquino faces Dengvaxia probe at House

"The promise of Sanofi at that time was that the administration of the vaccine four times would ensure that there is no longer a risk of infection".

The anti-dengue vaccine, which was administered to more than 830,000 children in areas with high incidences of dengue, was launched during the term of former Health Secretary Janette Garin in 2016.

They said Aquino and the other respondents should be held responsible for "ill-advisedly, thoughtlessly and imprudently" implementing the anti-dengue vaccination program.

The groups said they filed the complaint based on the testimonies of the resources persons invited to shed light on the issue by the House Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation (Blue Ribbon) joint with other concerned committees, which substantiated their claim that the respondents were "directly and proximately" responsible for the Dengvaxia vaccine mess.

Reacting to this, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said if the issue is indeed politicized, it is "certainly not because of the President".

Medical experts acknowledge that dengue, a virus transmitted to humans by the female of the Aedes aegypti mosquito specie, occurs mostly in tropical countries like the Philippines.

The pharmaceutical giant on Monday said it had yet to receive a formal document from the DoH on the civil case.

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This decision led the DOH to file a civil case against the pharmaceutical company after it turned down the government's request to reimburse the fund used in purchasing the vials and offer an indemnification fund to those who received the vaccine. As mentioned in our reply letter to the DOH, we stand firmly behind our product.

In previous hearings, health experts have clarified that although some children vaccinated with Dengvaxia have died, these cases could not yet be directly attributed to the vaccine, and further studies should be conducted to prove otherwise. "And at this time, there is also no known circumstance requiring indemnification", the Sanofi said in a statement sent to the press Monday.

Former budget secretary Butch Abad said: "MPBF (Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund) is a legitimate source of fund", when asked by Rep. Carlos Zarate during the hearing to justify the Aquino administration's use of savings.

"The bid for serious reforms at the FDA can not be done without the all-out support of the Health Secretary, and we are glad he has extended that support by heeding the recommendation of the FDA", she said.

Former Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, has urged parents not to panic about an anti-dengue vaccine which has come under official scrutiny in the Philippines.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is set to summon Aquino to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant his criminal indictment in connection with the procurement of the anti-dengue vaccine.

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