Philippines wants money back from Sanofi for dengue vaccine

Dengue vaccine risk raised

THE Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region said it has no mandate yet on how to attend to children who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia should they acquire dengue and need hospitalization.

Almost 734,000 children aged nine and over in the Philippines have received one dose of the vaccine as part of a programme that cost 3.5 billion pesos (more than $80 million Cdn).

The Philippines also ordered an investigation on Monday.

The Philippine government will demand a refund of 3.5 billion pesos ($69.5 million) from vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur and look at possible legal action after a study showed the vaccine used in a dengue immunization program could expose some people to severe illness, the health chief said Friday.

It has received no other reports of adverse reactions to Dengvaxia, it added.

Healthcare professionals here have been issued advisories on a dengue vaccine which could be harmful to people not previously infected by the virus.

The Department of Health put on hold its dengue immunization drive, which was launched a year ago and is the world's first such public program, after France-based Sanofi Pasteur released the study last week.

"So that was the diagnosis - severe dengue with hypotension and bradycardia, means slowing of the heart rate", said Duque.

"As for the government, walang children na na-vaccinated with Dengvaxia, but we don't know sa private institutions since they have not reported to us or furnished the list of their vaccinated patients", she said.

The Department of Health (DOH) began administering the vaccine to 733,000 public school children on April 2016. The protesters brought a 12-year-old boy who they said received the dengue vaccine.

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A rural health clinic in the Philippines.

This was Health Secretary Francisco Duque's reply, when asked in a media briefing at the Palace if Aquino and former Health Secretary Janette Garin could be included in a lawsuit over the now-controversial Dengvaxia.

HSA said it is now working with Sanofi to "strengthen the package insert" to include the warning of an increased risk of hospitalisation for dengue and clinically severe dengue in vaccinated people not previously infected by dengue.

Last week, the Department of Health in the Philippines suspended the use of Dengvaxia produced by French drug giant Sanofi.

She said this is necessary for them to be able to monitor and conduct surveillance on the affected children.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease that kills about 20,000 people a year and infects hundreds of millions.

A spokesman for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday the government would hold to account those responsible for the program.

A new analysis from six years of clinical data showed Dengvaxia vaccine provides persistent protective benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection.

"It is up to them if they would like to clarify several issues on the matter, because they were the ones who made the very vital decision to procure the vaccines", Duque said. Meanwhile, another senator, Richard Gordon, accused the previous government of "railroading the procurement process" and called for a probe to determine the culpability of officials in implementing the dengue vaccination program.

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