Tell it to SunStar: Graft raps seen over dengue vaccine mess

OFFICIALS responsible for the dengue vaccine mess up are bound to face graft charges.

The hustled purchase of P3.5-billion worth of Dengvaxia shots in 2015 may be considered highly detrimental to the government.

Under the law, entering into any contract or transaction that is deemed “manifestly and grossly disadvantageous” to the government constitutes a corrupt and unlawful practice.

Officials found liable may be penalized with up to 15 years in prison, plus perpetual disqualification from public office.

The purchase of Dengvaxia boosters was like buying an automobile that turns out to be a lemon--a product that is unsatisfactory and defective.

Meanwhile, Dengvaxia’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, should promptly return the P3.5 billion that the Philippine government, through the Department of Health (DOH), paid for the anti-dengue shots.

This is the right thing for Sanofi to do. The sooner they give us back the money, the better.

Sanofi Pasteur should also establish an indemnity fund, as proposed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque, to pay for the future hospitalization and treatment of Filipino school children who may be rendered sick after receiving Dengvaxia shots.

Sanofi Pasteur recently released the negative findings of its long-term follow-up study of Dengvaxia, the world’s first-ever licensed anti-dengue vaccine.

The study showed that “people who never had dengue but who were given the shots had an increased risk of a severe case and hospitalization from the third year after immunization.”--Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel
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