THE decision of pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur to refund government for the unused Dengvaxia vaccine and its promise to shoulder medical expenses of children affected by it could help strengthen the case to be filed against former government officials responsible for the allegedly defective dengue immunization program, anti-crime advocates said Tuesday.
“Their (Sanofi) commitment to reimburse government for the unused Dengvaxia is giving more strength to our case,” said Dante Jimenez, chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
Jimenez noted that the VACC was in the process of gathering documents and other evidence that would help build a strong case against those responsible.
Sanofi agreed to reimburse P1.4 billion of the P3.5 billion worth of dengue vaccines procured by the government during the time of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Sanofi, through its vice president for Asia Pacific Thomas Trioumphe, also vowed during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Dengvaxia Monday, to shoulder the medical expenses incurred by families of the victims as long as it could be proven that they had no record of dengue virus infection prior to being given Dengvaxia and whom health authorities have certified to have died as a result of the vaccine.
To date, the VACC said it has recorded seven fatalities, mostly children.
The VACC is also monitoring the condition of a number of Dengvaxia recipients now confined at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and other government hospitals after showing signs of possible severe dengue symptoms.
“I’m saying that we will shoulder cost of any death or adverse event related to vaccination, any that are casually related to vaccination,” Trioumphe told the Senate blue ribbon committee.
The VACC, though its volunteer lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, during the December 2017 Senate hearing, asked the committee to recommend the filing of plunder against former President Benigno Aquino 3rd, his budget secretary Florencio Abad, former health secretary Janette Garin and other health officials involved in the Dengvaxia controversy.
According to Topacio, Aquino committed plunder when he allowed the release of the funds for the procurement of the vaccine and extending favors to Sanofi Pasteur.
Jimenez expressed belief that the recent pronouncements of Sanofi would help them build a strong case against officials responsible for subjecting more than 800,000 children to a vaccine that have not even completed clinical trials. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA