Sanofi rejects refund demand faces Philippine suit over dengue vaccine (Update)

February 5, 2018
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi on Monday told the Philippines it would not refund the cost of used doses of a dengue vaccine after the vaccination program was suspended over health concerns

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi on Monday rejected a Philippine government demand to return tens of millions of dollars paid for a dengue vaccine after the programme was suspended over health concerns.

The Philippines had asked Sanofi to refund 3.2 billion pesos ($62 million) spent on injecting more than 830,000 schoolchildren with Dengvaxia after the company said last year the vaccine could worsen symptoms in some cases.

Sanofi last month agreed to reimburse the Philippine government half the total sought, for leftover doses of Dengvaxia. But it said Monday it would not pay for doses that were already used.

"Agreeing to refund the used doses of Dengvaxia would imply that the vaccine is ineffective, which is not the case," Sanofi Pasteur said in a statement.

The refund offered for unused Dengvaxia doses was not due to safety or quality concerns but simply to show that the company was cooperating with Manila, the French pharmaceutical giant added.

Dengue or haemorrhagic fever, the world's most common mosquito-borne virus, infects an estimated 390 million people in more than 120 countries each year and kills more than 25,000 of them, according to the World Health Organization.

The Philippines has one of the world's highest dengue fatality rates with 732 deaths last year, the country's health department said.

The country launched the world's first public dengue vaccination programme in 2016.

It was halted last year, along with Dengvaxia sales, after Sanofi warned the injections could make symptoms worse for people who contracted the disease for the first time after being injected.

The announcement caused panic among parents of injected children, said the government, which has since began investigating Dengvaxia's alleged role in the deaths of at least 14 vaccinated children. Sanofi denies responsibility.

Health officials also said immunisation programmes for other preventable diseases were suffering, with many parents now wary of vaccines in general.

On Monday Sanofi rejected a separate health department request to set up an indemnification fund to cover the hospitalisation and treatment for vaccinated children who contract severe dengue.

"Should there be any case of injury due to dengue that has been demonstrated by credible scientific evidence to be causally related to vaccination, we will assume responsibility," it said.

The government's Public Attorney's Office said Monday it is helping a Manila couple file a civil suit seeking 3.768 million pesos in damages for the death of their 10-year-old daughter last December.

The suit will name officials of Sanofi, its Philippine distributor and current and former health department officials as responsible for their child's death, according to a copy of the complaint released to the press.

The Public Attorney's Office said it received orders from the justice ministry last December "to extend free legal assistance in civil, criminal and administrative cases to all possible victims of Dengvaxia-related injuries, illnesses and deaths".

Explore further: Sanofi to reimburse Philippines for unused dengue vaccine (Update)

Related Stories

Sanofi to reimburse Philippines for unused dengue vaccine (Update)

January 15, 2018
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi will reimburse the Philippine government for leftover doses of an anti-dengue vaccine whose use was suspended due to health concerns, the two parties said Monday.

Philippines probes deaths after dengue vaccine suspended

December 21, 2017
Philippine officials are investigating whether three deaths were linked to an anti-dengue vaccine that the country's regulators have suspended, health officials said Thursday.

Dengue vaccine row wreaks havoc on Philippine war on disease

February 2, 2018
Widespread fears over a controversial dengue vaccine that some blame for child deaths are wreaking havoc on the Philippines' war on preventable diseases, with many parents refusing to get their children immunised, a senior ...

Philippines plans to sue Sanofi over dengue vaccine: minister (Update)

December 7, 2017
The Philippines intends to sue Sanofi after authorities suspended the pharmaceutical giant's anti-dengue vaccine in response to the company warning the drug could lead to severe infections in some cases, the health secretary ...

Philippines probing 14 deaths amid dengue vaccine furore

January 5, 2018
The Philippines is investigating if the deaths of 14 children had any link to a dengue vaccine whose use the government has suspended due to health concerns, officials said Friday.

Philippines says deaths in vaccine row 'consistent with' dengue

January 11, 2018
The Philippines said Thursday that some of the 14 children who died after receiving a controversial vaccine showed signs of "severe dengue", as investigators probe the drug whose use was suspended due to health concerns.

Recommended for you

Researchers publish study on new therapy to treat opioid use disorder

May 22, 2018
Better delivery of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) is key to addressing the opioid crisis and helping the 2.6 million Americans affected by the disease.

Could nonprofit drug companies cut sky-high prices?

May 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Generic prescription drugs should be cheap, but prices for some have soared in the United States in recent years. Now a group of U.S. hospitals thinks it has a solution: a nonprofit drug maker.

Fewer antibiotics for kids, but more ADHD drugs

May 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—American kids are taking fewer prescription medications these days—but certain drugs are being prescribed more than ever, a new government study finds.

Opioid makers' perks to docs tied to more prescriptions

May 14, 2018
Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests.

Less is more when it comes to prescription opioids for hospital patients, study finds

May 14, 2018
In a pilot study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Yale researchers significantly reduced doses of opioid painkillers given to hospital patients. By delivering the opioids with a shot under the skin or with a pill instead ...

Generic options provide limited savings for expensive drugs

May 7, 2018
Generic drug options did not reduce prices paid for the cancer therapy imatinib (Gleevec), according to a Health Affairs study released today in its May issue.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.