Philippines to sue Sanofi over vaccine

Dengue vaccine risk raised

Dengue vaccine risk raised

Dengue, affecting 90 to 93 percent of the population in the recommended and targeted areas, was addressed as our government obligation to respond,"Garin said in a statement issued last December 3".

The Philippines intends to sue pharmaceutical giant Sanofi after authorities suspended its anti-dengue vaccine in response to the company warning the drug could lead to severe infections in some cases, the health secretary said on Thursday.

In April, 2016, Garin launched the school-based dengue vaccination program in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon). The Philippines, however, was the first nation to use the vaccine.

However, Ng does not recommend the vaccine for those who have never been infected with dengue virus.

The French company on Monday sought to allay concerns, saying Dengvaxia would not cause anyone who was immunised to die and would not cause a dengue infection.

The Sanofi report adds to previous clinical trial data indicating that the vaccine was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for children under the age of nine.

Sanofi would be liable if it is found to have withheld material information "that would have changed the outcome of all of these problems and the decision-makers in the Department of Health in the previous administration", said Duque. However, the World Health Organization said in a July 2016 research paper that "vaccination may be ineffective or may theoretically even increase the future risk" of severe dengue illness in people who hadn't been exposed to it prior to their first vaccination.

"Although Thailand has already begun giving the dengue vaccine to interested people, mainly at privately run hospitals, the vaccine is only seen as one measure to control dengue and it still has to be used all along with other key disease prevention measures", he said.

"The overall benefit of vaccination in a highly endemic setting such as what we have here in the Philippines is still in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for vaccination introduction", she said.
A series of consultation meetings is scheduled this week between the Philippine government and Sanofi Pasteur to discuss the next steps.

Brazil's healthcare regulator Anvisa said in a statement that it now recommends that people who have never been infected with dengue not take the vaccine, which was approved for use in Brazil at the end of 2015.

Sanofi was not immediately available to comment on Duque's remarks.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said there had been no reported case of severe dengue infection since the vaccine was administered and urged the public "not to spread information that may cause undue alarm". The WHO, for its part, has advised that, pending a full study on its safety and efficacy, the vaccine should only be rolled out in populations with a high prevalence of dengue infection.

The press conference came after the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) announced that it would put on hold its dengue immunization program until "experts are able to review new developments on the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine".