MANILA, Philippines — Sanofi Pasteur turned down the government’s demand for the French drug firm to refund the P3.5 billion that the Philippines had spent for the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which is currently being investigated in Congress.
At the resumption on Monday, February 5, of the hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and the House Committee on Health, Sanofi stood pat that the Dengvaxia vaccine was beneficial for those who had previously contacted dengue.
“Agreeing to the refund of the used doses of Dengvaxia would imply that the vaccine is ineffective, which is not the case,” the firm said in a statement.
It added that, “The date remains quite clear that in absolute terms, dengue vaccination in the Philippines will provide a net reduction in dengue diseases, including severe dengue, and thereby, reduce the overall public health burden associated with the disease.”
Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government would consider look into legal
options in the wake of Sanofi’s statement.
In November, Sanofi announced that Dengvaxia — the world’s first dengue vaccine — might increase the risk of severe disease in people who had never been exposed to the mosquito-borne virus.
The announcement triggered panic in the Philippines where around 800,000 children received Dengvaxia shots.