Raps filed vs Philippine Children's Medical Center doctors over Dengvaxia

Raps filed vs Philippine Children's Medical Center doctors over Dengvaxia
The Department of Justice wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the first batch of criminal complaints over the controversial vaccine last October 30.
AP / File

MANILA, Philippines — Families who say their children died because of the Dengvaxia vaccine filed criminal complaints against a former official of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center on Monday.

The families, through the Public Attorney’s Office, moved to implead doctors Raymundo Lo and Sonia Gonzales in their reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and anti-torture case against former Health Secretary Janette Garin and other officials.

Lo was deputy executive director of the PCMC from 2006 to 2016.

“The fact is, our children died because of this new and experimental vaccine and [Lo and Gonzales] are two of the known personalities who facilitated the purchase of Dengvaxia vaccine even before the Food and Drug Administration has issued a Certificate of Product Registration,” the complainants claimed in their motion filed on Monday.

The complainants recalled that, during the legislative hearing on Dengvaxia issue, it was learned that Gonzales, on behalf of Lo, signed the purchase request for the dengue vaccine.

“From the foregoing actuations, the complicity of Dr. Lo and Dr. Gonzales to the purchase of Dengvaxia vaccine with undue haste despite of the fact that it is still on its trial stage is manifest making them liable as the other respondents in this case,” the motion read.

Garin asked the panel of state prosecutors to accept the affidavit of Lo, who she said is “an expert pathologist specializing in Anatomic and Clincal Pathology.”

But the panel of prosecutors led by Maria Emilia Victoria junked Garin’s pleading for being filed too late.

The panel said motion filed was “not well-taken” because according to the Rules on Criminal Court, the respondent Garin should have submitted her counter-affidavit along with the affidavits of her witnesses and supporting documents. 

State prosecutors wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the first batch of criminal complaints against Dengvaxia last Tuesday, October 30. — Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 19, 2019 - 11:05am

Pharmaceuticals firm Sanofi Pasteur insists that it will not grant refund for the purchased dengvaxia vaccines by the Department of Health.

The firm also declines to give compensation to victims of the vaccine's botched implementation. Here's the text of the statement:

As we did in our previous reply to the DOH on 5 February, 2018, we respectfully declined both requests [to refund the government for the used doses of Dengvaxia and finally support an indemnification fund]. We stand firmly behind our product. Refunding the used doses of Dengvaxia would imply that the vaccine is ineffective, which is not the case. And at this time, there is no known circumstance requiring indemnification.

We also again made very clear our willingness to sit down with the Department of Health to find other ways we can assist their efforts to combat dengue in the Philippines and restoring public trust in vaccines.

— Photo by AP

February 19, 2019 - 11:05am

The Food and Drug Administration has permanently revoked the Certificate of Product Registration for the controversial Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine, The STAR's Sheila Crisostomo reports.

The CPR for Dengvaxia had been suspended for one year since Dec. 29, 2017 after the FDA said pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur had failed to comply with post-marketing requirements.

The government's dengue vaccination program was suspended by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III after Sanofi admitted in November 2017 that it could cause severe dengue if given to those who have not had dengue. 

Duque cited pending regulatory and legal issues and the lack of testing kits to detect previous dengue infection as among the reasons that would stop the return of Dengvaxia.

“Even if the suspension is lifted, who will let themselves be vaccinated with Dengvaxia?” he added.

January 31, 2019 - 10:28am

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III calls allegations by Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta the Health department tried to pay off families affected by the controversial Dengvaxia virus to drop charges "malicious, baseless and a complete lie."

He says the DOH has tried to reach out to agencies, including PAO, to work together and resolve issues surrounding the anti-dengue vaccine that the PAO is blaming for at least 32 deaths.

"[U]nfortunately, my fellow public servants at PAO led by Attorney Persida Acosta refuse to cooperate and continue to attack and throw baseless claims and accusations at the Department of Health and myself," Duque says in a statement released on DOH's social media accounts.

Duque says in the same release that "baseless statements like these cause serious damage to our reputation as the primary government entity mandated to protect the health of all Filipinos."

He says Acosta's statements have contributed "to a decline in vaccine confidence in cases of Measles and other vaccine preventable diseases."

President Rodrigo Duterte himself has made a public appeal for families to get their children vaccinated despite the issues surrounding Dengvaxia, a specific vaccine that is no longer on the market in the Philippines.

December 3, 2018 - 10:30am

Dr. Raymond Lo, pathologist and former director of the Philippine Children's Medical Center, is slapped with criminal charges before the Department of Justice over alleged deaths attributed to dengvaxia.

Hhe is included as additional respondent in pending complaints for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, The STAR's Edu Punay reports.

November 15, 2018 - 12:02pm

Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta claims President Rodrigo Duterte advised her last February to file murder complaints over alleged Dengvaxia-related deaths, news agency ABS-CBS says in a tweet.

June 4, 2018 - 9:59am

Former President Benigno Aquino III attends the preliminary investigation hearing on the Department of Justice's probe into the inoculation of the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Also attending the hearing is former Health Secretary Janette Garin.

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