By GENALYN KABILING
French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur is not yet off the hook despite its planned refund for the unused dengue vaccines.
Sanofi’s refund was a “step in the right direction” but the government will pursue the investigation into the possible accountability of the company over the controversial dengue vaccination program, according to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
“On the Sanofi refund, we welcome that refund but the position of the Department of Health is for a full refund.
Nonetheless, we view this latest step of pharmaceutical company as a step in the right direction,” Roque said during a Palace news conference.
“We highlight that the refund will in no way affect ongoing investigations which will ultimately determine whether or not there is criminal culpability on the part of Sanofi,” he added.
Sanofi, the manufacturer of the Dengvaxia, recently agreed to reimburse the health department R1.4 million for the unused vaccines in the government’s vaccination program. The company made clear that the refund was not related to any safety or quality issue with Dengvaxia.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque, however, has asked Sanofi for a full refund for the R3.5 billion Dengvaxia vaccines paid by the government.
The company has been under fire for allegedly concealing information about the adverse effects of the anti-dengue vaccine when the government decided to embark on the vaccination program. It was later revealed that children who had not been infected with dengue and were vaccinated with Dengvaxia could acquire the disease years after the vaccination.