THE BUDGET department will ask the House committee on appropriations to file a supplemental budget that would allow the use of the refund from unused Dengvaxia vaccines to help beneficiaries.

French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur refunded P1.16 billion to the government in January.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said that the supplemental budget will enable the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the funds to the Department of Health (DoH), which would then provide medical assistance to Dengvaxia vaccine recipients.

“The supplemental budget would allow the utilization of around P1.16 billion worth of refunds from Zuellig Pharma, the local distributor of Sanofi Pasteur. The refund was made by the pharmaceutical company to cover the value of the unused Dengvaxia vaccines,” Mr. Diokno said during a briefing on Wednesday.

Mr. Diokno said that he expects Congress to take action by mid-May, when the legislature returns from a break.

A supplemental budget is an additional appropriation requested from the legislature to augment the programmed budget in a given fiscal year if it proves to be needed for a particular purpose.

He said that the funds will pay for medical kits worth P261 million, with hospitalization and outpatient health services estimated at P768.9 million, and the deployment of Nurse-Health Education and Promotion Officers (HEPOs) costing P131.81 million.

Mr. Diokno said that the amount will be enough to cover about 870,000 Dengvaxia recipients, at P500 per vaccine recipient for the outpatient care package, and P300 each for the medical kits.

The outpatient care package includes a Complete Blood Count (CBC), NS1 antigen test, urinalysis, medications and other laboratory tests.

The medical kits, on the other hand, contain one thermometer, one container of mosquito repellent, two bottles of multivitamins, among others.

The drug manufacturer refused to reimburse the government for used doses of Dengvaxia worth about P3 billion, saying that the product is effective. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan