Sanofi Pasteur agrees to refund $27.8 million to Philippines
"Sanofi Pasteur has responded positively to the Philippine Department of Health's (DOH) request that we provide reimbursement for the doses of Dengvaxia that were not used by the government in the public vaccination program," Sanofi Pasteur said in a statement.
Sanofi Pasteur stressed that their decision is "not related to any safety or quality issue with Dengvaxia."
"Our decision to reimburse for unused doses is not related to any safety or quality issue with Dengvaxia. Rather Sanofi Pasteur hopes that this decision will allow us to be able to work more openly and constructively with the DOH to address the negative tone towards the dengue vaccine in the Philippines today," it said.
The Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque sent last week a demand letter to Sanofi Pasteur to refund the 27.8 million U.S. dollars for the unused Dengvaxia vaccine.
Duque bared in December the government's plan to demand that Sanofi Pasteur refund the millions of dollars the Philippine paid to buy the controversial vaccine Dengvaxia.
The Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a regulatory agency under the DOH, ordered Sanofi Pasteur to pull out its Dengvaxia vaccine from the market.
The FDA issued the statement after the Department of Justice of the Philippines ordered an investigation into the purchase of the vaccine that cost the government 3.5 billion pesos (69.1 million U.S. dollars).
The Philippine government's move came after new findings that the Dengvaxia vaccine may cause a severe case of dengue if administered to a person who had not been previously infected with the mosquito-borne disease.
The Philippines immediately suspended its dengue immunization program using Dengvaxia in the wake of the controversy.
The Philippines became the first country in Asia to approve the use of the vaccine. Over 700,000 school children have been vaccinated using Dengvaxia.
But concerns were raised after Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of the vaccine, issued an advisory warning of the risks posed by the vaccine to those without prior infection, prompting the government to launch an investigation. ■