SENATE President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd said on Sunday that pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur must refund the entire P3.5 billion paid by the Philippine government for the defective anti-dengue vaccine and not just a portion of the amount.
Pimentel issued the statement in reaction to the announcement of the Department of Health (DOH) that it has issued demand letters asking Sanofi to refund the P1.4 billion cost of Dengvaxia that remained unused and to conduct serotesting on the children who were given the vaccine.
“All the vaccines were defective from the very beginning. Therefore, under our laws, we should demand the whole ₱3.5 billion we paid them and not just part of it,” the Senate president insisted.
Pimentel said that under the Civil Code, the government may have a defective product replaced or refunded and since there was no possible replacement for the vaccine, “refund is the only option”.
He, however, made it clear that even if Sanofi would pay the full amount, it still would not release the company from any liability that may arise from putting more than 800,000 children at risk.
The government bought vaccines intended for public schoolchildren in areas with high incidences of dengue, in a program that began on April 2016.
Sanofi, in November 2017, released a statement saying that the vaccine increases risks of contracting severe dengue for those who have never been infected with the disease.