Sanofi agrees refund for unused 'killer' anti-dengue vaccine

Dengvaxia: Philippines submits refund demand to Sanofi Pasteur, Also request testing

The French pharmaceutical giant denied the refund was related to safety issues, but was instead meant to improve ties with Philippine health authorities.

The health department is also asking the company's vaccine unit Sanofi Pasteur to refund 1.4 billion pesos for unused supplies of the drug.

After the programme began, Sanofi Pasteur released findings in November of a new study that showed Dengvaxia could lead to severe infections in some cases. JV Ejercito, the health committee chair, told reporters that he agreed with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III that a full refund was in order.

Pimentel was also reacting to a statement from Health Secretary Francisco Duque who revealed that they already sent an official letter demanding that Sanofi refund half or $30 million of the vaccine whose use was stopped in the government's anti-dengue vaccination campaign.

Our decision to reimburse for unused doses is not related to any safety or quality issue with Dengvaxia.

"We have asked the DOH for a meeting to discuss any questions they may have regarding the reimbursement and also to find ways to inform the Filipino public in a more balanced and evidence-based way on dengue vaccination while also restoring public trust in vaccination programs, in general", the latest statement from Sanofi Pasteur said.

The Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque sent last week a demand letter to Sanofi Pasteur to refund the 27.8 million USA dollars for the unused Dengvaxia vaccine.

On Monday, vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur said it would refund the government the cost of all leftover vaccines.

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Philippine authorities have been investigating the deaths of 14 children who were among more than 830,000 given Dengvaxia a year ago in the world's first public immunisation programme against dengue.

The Philippines became the first country in Asia to approve the use of the vaccine.

More than 830,000 schoolchildren had received at least one dose of Dengvaxia before the DOH could stop the program.

But the DOH stressed that "there is no conclusion yet on whether the administration of Dengvaxia caused the death of the vaccinees".

The Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a regulatory agency under the DOH, ordered Sanofi Pasteur to pull out its Dengvaxia vaccine from the market.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are investigating the controversy and 21 vaccinated children have brought graft charges against former President Benigno S. Aquino III and three members of his Cabinet.

The Department of Health is now investigating the deaths of 14 children injected with Dengvaxia.

The disclosure triggered a public furore, with some parents blaming the vaccine for their children's deaths and a number of legislators accusing the government of endangering public health. But the health workers and officers, we won't charge you.

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