Parents of Dengvaxia-vaccinated kids file graft raps vs Aquino admin execs
The parents of children injected with the Dengvaxia vaccine have filed graft charges against former President Benigno Aquino III, some of his Cabinet members, and key Sanofi-Pasteur executives before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Aside from Aquino, also charged on Friday were former Health Secretary Janette Garin, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and several Sanofi executives.
In a 23-page complaint-affidavit, the petitioners accused the officials of “knowingly” acting in bad faith when they entered a deal with the French pharmaceutical company for the procurement of the vaccines.
They also accused the respondents of “gross inexcusable negligence,” saying they failed to review and assess the vaccine’s effectiveness.
“Respondents’ liability is underlined by the admission of Sanofi Pasteur that the vaccine does not protect and in fact exposes to severe dengue those who have not contracted dengue prior to vaccination,” the petitioners said.
“In fact, even if the vaccine turned out to be safe and effective, the fact that the respondents first made the decision before any studies on the vaccine’s safety could be made, will not exonerate them from liability,” they said.
Last Nov. 29, Sanofi issued a statement saying that the anti-dengue vaccine provides “persistent protective benefit” for persons who had prior infection.
However, the pharmaceutical firm warned of “more cases of severe disease” for persons injected with the vaccine but had no prior dengue infection.
“For the respondents, P3.5 billion of taxpayers’ money paid to Sanofi Pasteur appeared to have been weightier than the lives of more than 700,000 children they have sworn to protect,” the petitioners stressed.
“Respondents’ acts are both cruel and appalling, as it affects us and the more than 800,000 other children who were inoculated with the controversial vaccine,” they said. /je
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