Bill aims to allot P1.16-B Sanofi refund for Dengvaxia kids’ care
House leaders have filed a bill which seeks to allot P1.16 billion from Sanofi Pasteur’s refund to assist children administered with the controversial Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and appropriations committee Chair Rep. Karlo Nograles filed on Wednesday House Bill 7449 which would use funds from Sanofi’s refund for unused Dengvaxia vials to finance the hospitalization of the children, their medical kits, out-patient care services and laboratory tests, among others.
“This will ensure prompt and pinpointed delivery of necessary medical assistance to Dengvaxia vaccinees even as the Department of Health (DOH) continues to monitor their state in the months following their inoculation. Also, this is to allay the fears of the public on the purported effects of Dengvaxia and to prevent further deaths and illnesses of those administered with the vaccine,” Nograles said in a statement.
“Regardless of the cause of these deaths and illnesses, it is incumbent upon the State to intervene by providing assistance to those who were administered with the vaccine. This is in line with the State’s policy of protecting and promoting the right to health of the people,” he added.
Dengvaxia, a relatively new drug manufactured by Sanofi, was used in the P3-billion mass anti-dengue vaccination program during the tail end of the Aquino administration in April 2016.
But in November 2017, the French pharmaceutical firm released results of its long-term follow-up study which showed that Dengvaxia could cause an increased risk in those who are seronegative or have not yet been infected with dengue.
Over 830,000 Filipino school children have already been given Dengvaxia shots.
The DOH suspended the administration of Dengvaxia and on the demand of the government, Sanofi’s local distributor, Zuellig Pharma refunded around P 1.16 billion for the unused vials of the vaccines.
“The money is already there and all we have to do now is to put it to good use. Using Sanofi’s refund is the least we could do to try to correct a possible misstep with this particular mass vaccination program,” said Nograles.
Certifications received by the Nograles camp showed that the P1.16-billion refund had already been transmitted to the National Treasury last January 26. /muf