Garin, others indicted anew over Dengvaxia

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By Gillian M. Cortez

A NEW case was filed before the Department of Justice (DoJ) against the companies behind Dengvaxia and former and incumbent officials of the Department of Health (DoH), in connection with the death of 11-year-old John Paul R. Rafael in 2016 soon after his inoculation with the vaccine that year.

A Report and Recommendation Memorandum by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), dated July 31, endorsed the filing of the charges of Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Homicide and Violation of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 against Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and distributor Zuellig Pharma Corporation, as well as former health secretary Janette L. Garin and incumbent officials of the DoH, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

According to the PAO report, Mr. Rafael died on April 11 last year, following his inoculation on March 31 despite his being “feverish at that time.” His death certificate states his causes of death as pulmonary edema (immediate cause), congenital heart disease (antecedent cause), and acute gastroenteritis with moderate dehydration (underlying cause).

The report said Sanofi and Zuellig “maliciously and arbitrarily did not inform the public of the dangers and risks related to Dengvaxia.”

On the other hand, Ms. Garin and other former officials were cited for the “haste” in the mass distribution of the vaccination which was “not doctor-assisted.”

This will be the 12th complaint against the former health secretary in connection with the Dengvaxia controversy.

Other DoH officials recommended to be charged are Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr., Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Dr. Gerardo Bayugo, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, Dr. Irma Asuncion, Dr. Julius Lecciones, Dr. Joyce Ducusin, Rosalind Vianzon, and Mario Baquilod.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials Maria Lourdes C. Santiago and Melody Zamudio; and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) officials Socorro P. Lupisan and Maria Rosario Z. Capeding were also included in the list of respondents.

The report also said the respondents violated the Consumer Act of the Philippines “for their defective and mislabeled products.”