Garin, Sanofi sued for damages over suspected Dengvaxia death

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2018 04:58 PM

MANILA - Former health secretary Janette Garin and officials of drug-maker Sanofi Pasteur on Monday faced a civil case over the death of a child who received its anti-dengue vaccine.

Garin had spearheaded the previous administration's program to immunize some 830,000 children with Sanofi's Dengvaxia.

The campaign was suspended late last year after the French company said the vaccine could lead to more severe symptoms if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne disease before. 

The Public Attorney's Office said it sued Garin and Sanofi representatives for damages after its own forensic examination found that a 10-year-old child, who had no history of dengue, died within a week of receiving the vaccine. 

The fatality, Anjielica Pestilos, succumbed to extensive bleeding of the heart and stomach, said Erwin Erfe, head of the PAO Forensic Laboratory. 

PAO's civil suit was the first lodged against Sanofi over Dengvaxia. Also tagged in the complaint was vaccine distributor Zuellig Pharma. 

A group of experts tapped by the government also linked 3 deaths to Dengvaxia. Further tests, however, are needed to verify the findings, said the Department of Health.

Sanofi said it "sympathizes" with the families of the children who allegedly died due to severe dengue, but maintained that Dengvaxia did not cause the deaths. 

The firm also declined a demand from the Philippine government to set up an indemnification fund for possible victims and fully refund the P3.5 billion spent on its anti-dengue vaccine. 

- With a report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News