In Senate probe, Sanofi claims Dengvaxia 'safe, effective'

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2017 03:08 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2017 03:53 PM

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MANILA - French drug-maker Sanofi Pasteur assured Filipinos that its dengue vaccine Dengvaxia continues to be safe, despite a recent admission that the drug may be harmful when administered to individuals not previously infected with dengue.

Speaking before senators, Sanofi's Thomas Triomphe said there have been no deaths linked to the controversial dengue vaccine, which is still being used in 11 other countries.

"We at Sanofi assure Filipinos that Dengvaxia continues to be a safe and efficacious vaccine," he said, stressing that the vaccine was a product of 20 years of rigorous development.

Representative of Paris based pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Pasteur, Thomas Triumphe Head for Asia Pacific answers questions during the senate inquiry on the Dengvaxia vaccine. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Triomphe said Sanofi has high ethics standard and compliance and that he sees no negligence on the part of the company.

Dengvaxia has been administered to over 800,000 Filipino children as part of a program initiated during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. 

The vaccines expire in 3 years, Triomphe said. The vials in the Philippines, he added, expire by May and August 2018, depending on the batch.

The health scare started when Sanofi revealed that the vaccine may cause more severe symptoms on those who had not been previously infected by dengue.

Despite this, Sanofi insists Dengvaxia will help reduce cases of dengue in the Philippines, stressing that the effectiveness of the vaccines is backed by science.

"Even today, there has been no one -- not one single death causally linked to the vaccine," said Triomphe.