Philippines to seek refund, sue Sanofi over dengue vaccine: health chief

Maricruz Casares
Diciembre 8, 2017

Since 2016, more than 700,000 Filipino children have received Dengvaxia for free under the DOH's school-based immunization program, after the vaccine was licensed by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

Dr Joselito Sta. Ana, Sanofi Pasteur Regional Director, gestures during a media briefing on the dengue vaccine at a hotel in Manila on Monday. Dr.

These included the following: first, use of the vaccine should only be considered in areas where a high proportion (preferably at least 70 percent) of the community had already been exposed to the virus; second, the vaccine should only be provided to people nine years of age and above; and third, people being vaccinated should receive three doses. The Philippines, however, was the first nation to use the vaccine.

As for people who have already received dengue vaccine shots, he said, they should not worry too much about the possible side effects that have been reported in the news because not everyone will develop them.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn also said the ministry has not actually focused on the use of a dengue vaccine as a key means of preventing the disease. A series of consultation meetings is scheduled this week between the Philippine government and Sanofi Pasteur to discuss the next steps.

The Philippines Department of Justice on Monday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into "the alleged danger to public health ... and if evidence so warrants, to file appropriate charges thereon".

Patients rest inside a crowded ward filled with dengue patients at a hospital in Quezon City, Metro Manila, in a file photo from August 24, 2011.

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Singapore's Health Sciences Authority said last week that it flagged risks when Dengvaxia was approved there in October 2016, and was working with Sanofi to strengthen risk warnings on the drug's packaging.

The previous administration of president Benigno Aquino launched the vaccination programme a year ago, making the Philippines the first nation to use Dengvaxia on a mass scale.

Sanofi was not immediately available to comment on Duque's remarks.

A spokesman for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday the government would hold to account those responsible for the program. "We implemented it in accordance with World Health Organization guidance and recommendations". The WHO, for its part, has advised that, pending a full study on its safety and efficacy, the vaccine should only be rolled out in populations with a high prevalence of dengue infection.

Dr Suwanchai said while waiting for the World Health Organization to formally react to the matter, all the DDC could do is assure people who have already acquired dengue immunity after a previous infection that they will experience less severe symptoms after getting the shot.

While Sanofi's Dengvaxia is the first-ever approved vaccine for dengue, scientists already recognized it was not flawless and did not protect equally against the four different types of the virus in clinical tests.

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