Poe: Full refund of Dengvaxia vaccines can be used to treat kids
Senator Grace Poe on Monday backed her colleague’s call that Sanofi Pasteur fully refund the P3.5 billion cost of defective Dengvaxia vaccines, saying it could serve “as a standby fund that can finance the treatment of immunized children harmed by the vaccine.”
Earlier, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel also urged the Department of Health (DOH) to not just ask for a refund on unused anti-dengue vaccines, but for the P3.5-billion cost of the entire contract.
This, after the French pharmaceutical giant agreed to refund the P1.4 billion cost of unused Dengvaxia doses three days after the DOH sent a demand letter to them.
In a statement, Poe said the money to be returned “is a drop in the bucket” in the global profits of the pharmaceutical giant, “so the question of affordability is settled.”
Seeking precedents, Poe reminded Sanofi that “other responsible members in the Philippine corporate community has willingly paid huge fines, like Uber.”
The senator said a full refund was in order, “because when you buy a lemon, you’re entitled to a full refund.”
“Kung sa palengke nga, kung sira ang manok na nabili mo, hindi naman pwede na ang bayad lang sa kalahati ang isasauli (If in the market, you buy a spoiled chicken, it cannot be that the refund is only half the price),” Poe said.
Part of the full refund by Sanofi Pasteur, Poe proposed, “can be put in a trust fund for the treatment of those who will get sick due to the dengue vaccine.”
“Hindi biro ang dami ng nabakunahan. Halos isang milyon (The number of those vaccinated is not a joke. Almost one million). This is not to sound alarmist pero hindi pa natutuldukan kung ano ang mangyayari sa kanila sa darating na panahon (but what will happen to them in the future has not yet ended),” she said.
“Monitoring them requires a lot of money. Perhaps, the cost of surveillance can be taken from what Sanofi will refund. Ang mahalaga merong (What is important is there is) compensation fund na naka-ready (that is ready),” Poe said.
Poe also pointed out that the experience should “mandate a review of future contracts for vaccines and provide for clear liability in the event of fraudulent practices.”
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