Sanofi refunds P1.16B to gov’t

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Controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.

French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur has refunded more than P1.16 billion to the Department of Health (DoH) for unused Dengvaxia vaccines, the Commission on Audit (CoA) said in a report.

The total cost of Dengvaxia purchases reached P3.5 billion for use in a mass immunization program with school children as target.

Amid the implementation of the vaccination scheme, Sanofi Pasteur disclosed that Dengvaxia may have a detrimental effect to those inoculated but who have no history of dengue.

The refund has been turned over to the National Treasury, it added.

The CoA reported that P556 million was reimbursed to the government on 16 January 2018, bringing the total amount refunded by the French firm to P1.16 billion.

“The remaining outstanding/undisbursed balance of P556,155,900 of the obligated allotment was reverted to the National Treasury on 16 January 2018. Moreover, a total of P1,161,722,000 for the refund of the withdrawals of unused vaccines was collected from Sanofi Pasteur, supplier of the Dengvaxia vaccines, on 26 January 2018,” CoA said.

The CoA, however, revealed the DoH still has to collect P700 million from the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), which supervised the vaccine procurement, representing unliquidated fund transfers.

PCMC flagged

The CoA had flagged the PCMC for allegedly conducting pre-procurement activities ahead of the effectivity date of its memorandum of agreement (MoA) with DoH on the use of Dengvaxia.

The report said the PCMC started holding pre-procurement activities for the P3-billion dengue vaccination program about a month before the MoA with DoH took effect on 19 February 2016.

It added the purchase of the vaccine was not in compliance with the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order 49 and the Revised IRR of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Several officials, including former President Benigno Aquino III, former Health Secretary Janette Garin and former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, are facing multiple criminal complaints for the alleged undue haste in the procurement of the Dengvaxia vaccine and the implementation of the mass immunization program. HB

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