'I did nothing unethical, illegal': Ubial slams Garin lawsuit

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2018 02:10 PM

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MANILA - Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Friday slammed her predecessor Janette Garin for alleging before a court that her supposed move to relax the protocol on Dengvaxia vaccines led to more deaths related to the drug.

Garin filed charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against her successor earlier this week, saying Ubial should be held liable for her decision to shift the dengue immunization program from being school-based to community-based.

"Hindi ho siguro alam ni Secretary Garin ang definition ng community-based," Ubial said in an interview on DZMM.

"'Yung pagbakuna sa eskuwelahan at pagbakuna sa health center, pareho 'yung community-based," she said.

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

Last year, drug manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur said the vaccine may lead to more serious dengue cases if administered to patients who never had the mosquito borne-disease.

Several parents claimed that their children died shortly after receiving the vaccine from the government. They sued Garin and Sanofi for damages last year.

Garin said Ubial should also be held liable for the deaths for allegedly allowing immunization even without a written consent from parents.

"I did nothing unethical. Wala akong ginawang labag sa batas. Hindi ako nagpabaya," Ubial said.

(I did nothing unethical, I did not do anything illegal, I was not careless.)

"Due diligence ang ginamit ko: nagkaroon ng konsultasyon sa mga eksperto, nagkaroon ng vetting sa mga managers, nagkaroon kami lahat ng executive committee resolution, the highest policy-making body of the Department of Health," she said.

"Wala akong ginawang unilateral decisions," she said.

Ubial said it was Garin who should be blamed for the Dengvaxia mess as her predecessor also acted as the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the body that approves the sale of food and medicine in the country.

"Nilisensyahan siya (Dengvaxia) ng FDA," Ubial said.

"At that time, naging OIC si Sec. Garin ng FDA that facilitated 'yung lisensya ng Dengvaxia," she said.

Earlier this year, Garin denied that she appointed herself to the FDA.

So far, officials have yet to prove that the Dengvaxia vaccine led to the alleged deaths of some children who received the drug under the government's immunization program.

Dengvaxia is still in use in some 21 countries, and no deaths linked to the vaccine have been reported.

The Philippine government had pulled out Dengvaxia from the market and asked Sanofi for a full refund for the alleged faulty drugs.