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Philippines wants Sanofi to return money for dengue vaccine

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will demand a reimbursement of 3,500 million pesos ($ 69.5 million) from vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur and analyze possible legal actions after a study showed the vaccine used in an immunization program against the Dengue fever could expose some people to a serious illness, the health chief said Friday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government will also seek compensation for the treatment of children who may develop severe dengue. No deaths have been confirmed, but at least one immunized child has developed dengue.

The Health Department suspended its immunization campaign against dengue, which was launched last year and is the first public program in the world, after Sanofi, based in France. Pasteur published the study last week.

More than 730,000 public school children 9 years of age or older in three Philippine regions with high rates of dengue have received at least the first dose of Dengvaxia, the first licensed vaccine for dengue.

Sanofi Pasteur said that his long-term follow-up study of the vaccine showed sustained benefits for up to six years for those who had a previous dengue infection, but that people who never had dengue had an increased risk of a severe case and hospitalization of the third. year after immunization.

"We will demand reimbursement of the 3,000 million paid by Dengvaxia and that Sanofi established a compensation fund to cover hospitalization and medical treatment for all children who may have severe dengue," Duque said at a press conference, and He added that a government legal team will also examine Sanofi's responsibility.

The pharmaceutical giant initially claimed that the vaccine was safe and effective for all people aged 9 to 45 years, but then acknowledged that "it is not recommended for people who have not had a previous dengue infection." "Due to the risk of a serious case," said Duque.

At least one 12-year-old boy from the northern province of Tarlac developed dengue after being immunized but recovered, Duque said, although he did not say whether Dengvaxia caused the infection.

Another possible case of dengue was being investigated, he said.

Sanofi Pasteur said Friday that he is working with the Philippine authorities to address the fears and share new information about the race, and will cooperate in an ongoing review of the public vaccination program.

Duke said the Philippines will wait for a recommendation to be launched next week by a group of immunization experts who advise the World Health Organization.

The WHO says that approximately half of the world's population is at risk of dengue, with a recent estimate indicating 390 million infections per year.

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes found in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. It is a flu-like illness that can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash, and can cause respiratory problems, hemorrhages and organ failure in severe cases.

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