Gov’t urged to seek US help over Deng­vaxia con­tro­versy

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By ALEXIS ROMERO and DING CER­VANTES STAR The – With Mayen Jaymalin

A lawyer rep­re­sent­ing sev­eral par­ents of al­leged Deng­vaxia vic­tims has urged the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion to ask the United States to probe French phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm Sanofi Pas­teur for pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tion of Amer­i­can laws in re­la­tion to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the anti-dengue vac­cine to al­most a mil­lion Filipino chil­dren.

In a let­ter sent to Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Sal­vador Me­di­aldea and three other of­fi­cials, lawyer Ernesto Fran­cisco Jr. said Filipino chil­dren were in­oc­u­lated with Deng­vaxia at a time when even Sanofi’s own clin­i­cal tri­als showed that “there are se­ri­ous ques­tions on the ef­fi­cacy and safety” of the vac­cine.

“This is to re­quest your good of­fices to study and pur­sue le­gal reme­dies or ac­tions avail­able in the United States of Amer­ica which the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment may avail against Sanofi or Sanofi Pas­teur in con­nec­tion with the con­duct of clin­i­cal tri­als on the anti-dengue vac­cine Deng­vaxia, then known as CYD-TVD,” Fran­cisco said.

“The Philip­pine gov­ern­ment may re­quest the United States gov­ern­ment, specif­i­cally its Depart­ment of Jus­tice or At­tor­ney Gen­eral, to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Sanofi for pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tion of (US) laws, in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to the For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act (FCPA) and fed­eral statutes on health care,” he added.

The 12-page let­ter, a copy of which was sent to

late last week, was ad­dressed to Me­di­aldea, Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre II, Health Sec­re­tary Fran­cisco Duque III and Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Jose Cal­ida.

Fran­cisco said he men­tioned the FCPA “be­cause of the ad­mis­sions made by Philip­pine gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials that they re­ceived mone­tary com­pen­sa­tion from Sanofi in con­nec­tion with their of­fi­cial func­tions rel­a­tive to the con­duct of clin­i­cal tri­als of Deng­vaxia and the is­suance of reg­u­la­tory ap­provals.”

He said the US gov­ern­ment would likely ac­com­mo­date a re­quest to in­ves­ti­gate Sanofi be­cause the com­pany has headquarters in Penn­syl­va­nia, its shares listed in the New York Stock Ex­change. Clin­i­cal tri­als on Deng­vaxia were also con­ducted in Puerto Rico, an un­in­cor­po­rated ter­ri­tory of the US.

The com­pany has claimed that the clin­i­cal devel­op­ment of the vac­cine has com­plied with the stan­dards set by the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion and US-based foun­da­tions were in­volved in the devel­op­ment of the dengue vac­cine.

Fran­cisco also claimed that the clin­i­cal tri­als on Deng­vaxia were “far from over” at the time Sanofi sought and was granted reg­u­la­tory approval for the vac­cine.

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