‘Sanofi’s P1.16-billion refund should be for Dengvaxia kids’

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
�Sanofi�s P1.16-billion refund should be for Dengvaxia kids�
Duque made the appeal after the upper chamber failed to deliberate on the bill last Aug. 15.
Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III urged the Senate yesterday to pass a supplemental budget earmarking the P1.16 billion returned by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur to assist children vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

Duque made the appeal after the upper chamber failed to deliberate on the bill last Aug. 15.

“We are making an appeal in behalf of the children vaccinated with Dengvaxia who are the intended beneficiaries of this supplemental budget. We are urging our honorable senators to pass the Senate version of the bill,” he said.

The P1.16 billion represents the amount returned by Sanofi, Dengvaxia manufacturer, to the Department of Health (DOH) when the agency returned the unused anti-dengue vaccines.  

The fund has since been turned over by the DOH to the Bureau of Treasury.

Duque noted the DOH wants to use the entire amount “exclusively” to fund efforts to improve the situation of children vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

Earlier, President Duterte certified as urgent the bill granting the DOH supplemental budget to finance the medical assistance of the children and other individuals vaccinated with Dengvaxia. 

The House of Representatives in May approved on third and final reading House Bill 7449 or the proposed supplemental budget to assist children who were given the vaccine.

Of the P1.16 billion, P945.8 million will be allocated for medical assistance program of Dengvaxia vaccinees seeking treatment, either confined at a hospital or outpatient, while P148.3 million will be spent on assessment and monitoring of Dengvaxia vaccinees and for supplies and medicine. 

On the other hand, around P67.6 million will be used for the deployment of health workers who will follow up on complaints of vaccinees.

“While the Senate version of the bill is still pending, the DOH is stretching its resources to attend to the needs of the vaccinees. We want to inform the Senate that every day that passes is crucial in delivering the best health outcomes for the vaccinees,” Duque said.

The DOH chief maintained they are hopeful that “senators will listen to our pleas and will approve their version of the bill the soonest possible time.”   

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