BREAKING: DOJ again indicts ex-DOH chief Garin, several others over Dengvaxia mess
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause to again indict former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin and other respondent health officials in connection with the second batch of complaints concerning the deaths of schoolchildren who got vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
In a statement on Friday, Justice Assistant Secretary Neal Bainto said the DOJ panel of prosecution found probable cause to charge Garin and nine other officials of the DOH, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. (Sanofi) for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide.
It also found sufficient evidence to indict the President of Sanofi for violating the Consumer Act of the Philippines for manufacturing the Dengvaxia vaccine, which poses certain risks to seronegative, or to those who have not previously contracted the dengue disease.
“Likewise, the Panel found that the circumstances surrounding the dispensation of the Dengvaxia vaccine made the same a mislabeled drug and held liable the President of Sanofi and four (4) of its other officers or directors for violating the same Act,” DOJ said.
The DOJ has already found probable cause to indict those named as respondents in the first batch of complaints filed by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).
PAO has filed 55 complaints before the DOJ. The number represents the persons, mostly children, out of the 147 who died after receiving the anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine. The 147 dead victims were examined by the PAO forensics team.
According to Bainto, the DOJ panel said it found that there was an “inexcusable lack of precaution” on the part of Garin and the other respondent government officials in the “fast-tracking of the procurement process” for the Dengvaxia vaccine despite being aware of its low efficacy results and the potential risks associated with its use.
It also found that clinical trials for the Dengvaxia vaccine were not yet completed when it was purchased and rolled out for use in the government’s mass immunization program. Despite ongoing clinical trials, FDA approved the vaccine’s registration.
“The Panel concluded that the accomplishment of the procurement process for the Dengvaxia vaccine, with undue haste, within a limited timeframe, and despite the red flags known to Garin and the other respondents, amounted to Reckless Imprudence,” Bainto said.
Under the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide is imprisonment of up to six years for each count.
Edited by KGA
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