PAO files first ever Dengvaxia-related case at QC RTC

admin   •   February 5, 2018   •   3306

MANILA, Philippines — The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) filed a civil case in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court today in relation to the death of Anjielica Pestilos.

This is the first Dengvaxia-related case filed by PAO.

The death of 15-year-old Anjielica has been linked to the controversial anti-dengue vaccine.

PAO forensic expert Dr. Erwin Erfe said that based on the autopsy they conducted on Anjielica’s body, she received vaccination despite having lupus and weak immune system.

“Dapat siya ay hindi nabakunahan. Dapat siya ay excluded at hindi kasama sa mga nabakunahan. Dahil po itong Dengvaxia … live virus pinagsamang yellow fever virus at dengue virus.  Sa tingin po namin, base sa aming analysis, nagkasakit si Angelica one week after na siya ay bakunahan,” said PAO Forensic expert Dr. Erwin Erfe.

(She should not have received the vaccination. She should have been excluded from the vaccination program because Dengvaxia consists of a combination of yellow fever virus and dengue virus. As we see it, based on our analysis, Anjielica fell ill one week after being vaccinated.)

PAO chief Atty Persida Acosta, meanwhile, said that there are strong grounds for charging the case against the board of directors of Zuellig Pharma Corporation, the distributor of Dengvaxia in the Philippines, and against Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of the dengue vaccine.

The complaint also includes former Health Secretary Dr. Jannette Garin, Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go and other government officials connected to the procurement and distribution of Dengvaxia.

PAO reiterated that it will not stop in conducting an autopsy on the bodies of children whose deaths are linked to Dengvaxia, Moreso with their parents who call on PAO and seek explanation on their children’s demise.

“Hindi po pwedeng ilibing ang kasamaan. Dapat buksan at bigyan ng kartarungan. Tama?  Nananawagan po ako kay Sec. Duque. Totohanin mo magbigay ka po ng libreng gamot, medisina, mga vitamins sa mga bata sa mga center,”  said the PAO chief.

(Evil must not be buried. It must be opened and justice must be served. Right? I call on Secretary Duque, be true to your words. Provide free treatment, medicines, vitamins for children in centers.)

The Malacañang, meanwhile, supports PAO’s measures.

“We’re not telling anyone to stop what they are doing. We are just saying that we are flatly rejecting the call of the physicians to put an end to the exhumation because the position of the government is we’re in search of the truth; we will resort to autopsy when it is needed,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

On Monday, the Public Attorney’s Office was filled with parents and children who received Dengvaxia.

They said that they voluntarily went to PAO to request the exhumation of the bodies of their children to have these undergo the autopsy to shed light whether Dengvaxia was the cause of their children’s deaths.

“Nag-aalala sa pagkaturok na iyon dahil nga nababalitang maraming namamatay na siyempre bilang lolo nag-alala kami. Akala namin mabuti iyong itinurok kaya kami pumayag paturukan.” said Ricardo Reyes.

(I worry about that vaccination since there has been news of deaths linked to the vaccine. Of course, as a grandparent, I am concerned. We thought the vaccine to be beneficial so permitted our children to be vaccinated.)

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) is also set to file a complaint before the Office of the President against the Department of Health (DOH) officials involved in the process of the procurement of the vaccine, and of the implementation of the vaccination program.

The VACC has also sent a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte to request the declaration of a state of national emergency to resolve the issue on the vaccination on over 830,000 Filipino children nationwide. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue


DOH agrees with FDA decision to ban Dengvaxia in Phl

Maris Federez   •   August 22, 2019

A Filipino nurse prepares to administer an anti-dengue vaccine during a nationwide vaccination at a school in the flood-prone city of Marikina, east of Manila, Philippines, 04 April 2016. (Photoville International / FILE)

The Department of Health (DOH) has rejected the request of Sanofi Pasteur to overturn the decision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of Dengvaxia vaccine in the Philippines.

With this, the DOH approved the ruling of the FDA to permanently revoke the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia for Sanofi’s failure to submit the necessary post-approval requirements.

“The decision concerns Sanofi’s complete disregard of FDA regulations, which were precisely put in place by law to ensure safety,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

Although Sanofi was able to submit the first two versions of its risk management plans (RMP), the pharmaceutical company failed to submit the third and final version of the plan.

The DOH said, however, that Sanofi may apply for a new certificate of product registration (CPR) for Dengvaxia but this must be in accordance with the FDA regulations.

“Given that Dengvaxia is an innovative drug, the importance of complying with these post-marketing commitments is critical to public safety,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the department has assured that it continues to address the increasing cases of dengue in the country. /mbmf

Ombudsman probes PAO’s Acosta, Erfe for alleged corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday confirmed it is investigating Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta and Forensic Laboratory chief Dr. Erwin Erfe for alleged graft and corruption.

In a statement, the Ombudsman said it is currently conducting preliminary and administrative adjudication against Acosta and Erfe on corruption allegations within PAO including the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine issue.

The case stemmed from the complaints filed early this year by lawyer Wilfredo Garrido Jr. who sought for the suspension of Acosta and Erfe for allegedly committing corruption, falsification, malversation and illegal use of public funds or property.

The two PAO officials supposedly made money in alleged illegal purchases of office supplies for their crusade against Dengvaxia in 2018.

Acosta was also accused of using PAO budget to hold seminars at luxury hotels as she supposedly receives a commission for every gathering.

The Ombudsman said that after Garrido’s complaints were evaluated and docketed in April 2019, an order was immediately issued, directing the respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits.

“Records from the criminal and administrative cases show that respondents are facing criminal charges for violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(j) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices), Falsification by Public Officer, Malversation and Illegal Use of Public Funds or Property,” the statement read.

Administrative charges for Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, Grave Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, were also leveled against Acosta and Erfe,” it added.

Acosta and Erfe have denied the allegations in a consolidated counter-affidavit they filed last April 30.

The Office of the Ombudsman said several other pleadings were filed by the respective parties during the course of the investigation, including the one signed by alleged “DOJ PAO lawyers.”

The Ombudsman said that as of August, the parties were directed to file their respective verified position papers containing their positions, supporting evidence and defenses.

“The corruption allegations against the high-ranking PAO officials will be judiciously scrutinized and the cases shall be resolved solely on the basis of the evidence presented by the parties,” Ombudsman Samuel Martires said.

Malacañang earlier said it will not interfere with the case.

Sanofi Pasteur optimistic Dengvaxia will be restored in PH market

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2019

French Pharmaceutical firm, Sanofi Pasteur expressed optimism that the Dengvaxia vaccine will be restored in the Philippine market.

In a statement, Sanofi Pasteur Philippines General Manager Jean Antoine Zinsou said they are open for a discussion with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health (DOH).

He also clarified that Dengvaxia is safe and effective to use.

According to Zinsou, the said vaccine was only banned in the Philippines because of incomplete documents or due to “administrative consideration.”

“We definitely need to settle this issue. One way to do it is to discuss with FDA and see what is needed to have this revocation lifted,” he said.

Zinsou also said Dengvaxia is registered in 20 countries across the globe and is acknowledged by the United States Food Drug Administration and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, Sanofi agrees with the DOH that Dengvaxia is not a solution to the Dengue epidemic in the country.

READ: Dengvaxia won’t bring dengue cases down – DOH

“The vaccines that we are mentioning is not a solution or a silver bullet for the ongoing outbreak. We are open to any discussion with the health authorities to see what is needed, what do they need for the future,” Zinsou said.

In February this year, the FDA revoked the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia.

Sanofi already filed an appeal two weeks ago and the DOH will release their decision on the issue on August 19.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)


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