Sanofi agrees to take back unused Dengvaxia vaccines, pay back gov’t
The manufacturer of the Dengvaxia vaccine has agreed to take back its remaining unused vials and to pay back the government for the unused stocks of the anti-dengue vaccine.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III revealed that Sanofi Pasteur agreed to pay P 1.1 billion to the government for the unused vaccines that the vaccine manufacturer will be retrieving this week.
“It was also agreed with Sanofi that the reimbursement will be in about one to two days after retrieval (of the unused vials),” said Duque in a press briefing.
Sanofi Pasteur came to the agreement with the Department of Health after officials from the two parties met on Tuesday afternoon.
It may be recalled that the reimbursement for the unused anti-dengue vaccines was the first of the DOH’s demands to the vaccine manufacturer.
But in its demand letter to Sanofi Pasteur, the original demand was for a reimbursement of P 1.4 billion for the unused Dengvaxia vials.
On Tuesday, Duque said they still have around 1,187,815 vials of the Dengvaxia vaccine, “which is equivalent to P 1,187,815,000.”
“First and foremost, Sanofi will retrieve the remaining stocks until Friday this week,” he said.
Duque added: “That is the magnitude of the agreement that was arrived at between Sanofi and DOH.”
There will be designated pick-up points from which the vaccine manufacturer will retrieve the remaining vials.
Duque explained that some local government units are still conducting their inventory of their stocks of the Dengvaxia vaccine.
“There is an ongoing inventory in some LGU. The Dengvaxia immunization program was not only confined to schools, but also a community-based immunization,” he said.
In November 2017, Sanofi Pasteur admitted that the anti-dengue vaccine may increase the risk of severe dengue in those who had no prior dengue infections.
Dengvaxia is a live attenuated yellow fever virus combined with other four antigens from the dengue virus.
This prompted the DOH to suspend its anti-dengue vaccination program and to conduct close monitoring, surveillance and care for the more than 830,000 children who received the vaccine.
Also discussed was the DOH’s request for Sanofi Pasteur to conduct a sero-testing of more than 830,000 children who received the vaccine to determine if they had previous dengue infections.
“They said that they will send us a letter explaining the testing kit, NS1 Antigen. There was a brief discussion,” Duque said.
He added: “But for the benefit of everyone, it might be good that we have read the letter of Sanofi Pasteur first and we will resume talks after we read the full text of their letters in response to our request or our demand for testing kits, to be able to differentiate the vaccinees who were seronegative and those who were seropositive.”
Gundo Weiler, the World Health Organization representative to the Philippines, noted that the testing kit was “developed in a research context.”
“We do not have the data at this point in time but Sanofi Pasteur promised to share full data with the DOH. With that data, I think we can discuss what the potential benefit of the test would be,” he said.
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