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ESTABLISH ‘TRUST FUND’ FOR DENGVAXIA PATIENTS – POE

Senator Grace Poe has backed the “emerging government consensus” that Sanofi Pasteur fully refund the government for the defective anti-dengue vaccines, saying the P3.5-billion could serve “as a standby fund that can finance the treatment of immunized children harmed by the vaccine.”

Poe added that the money to be returned “is a drop in the bucket” in the global profits of the pharmaceutical giant, “so the question of affordability is settled. Seeking precedents, Poe reminded Sanofi that “other responsible members in the Philippine corporate community has willingly paid huge fines, like Uber.”

The money to be returned “is a drop in the bucket” in the global profits of the pharmaceutical giant.

Sanofi Pasteur has reportedly decided to return to the Department of Health P1.16-billion representing the price of the stocks of unused Dengvaxia, the rushed purchase of which in 2016 has been widely assailed.

The legislator said a full refund is in order, “because when you buy a lemon, you’re entitled to a full refund.”

“Kung sa palengke nga, kung sira ang manok na nabili mo, hindi naman pwede na ang bayad lang sa kalahati ang isasauli,” the lawmaker said.

Part of the full refund by Sanofi Pasteur, the lady senator proposed, “can be put in a trust fund for the treatment of those who will get sick due to the dengue vaccine.”

“Hindi biro ang dami ng nabakunahan. Halos isang milyon. This is not to sound alarmist pero hindi pa natutuldukan kung ano ang mangyayari sa kanila sa darating na panahon,” she said.

“Monitoring them requires a lot of money. Perhaps, the cost of surveillance can be taken from what Sanofi will refund. Ang mahalaga merong compensation fund na naka-ready,” she added.

Poe insisted that Sanofi cannot “plead poverty in escaping responsibility.”

“Hindi sila pauper entity na pwedeng sabihin na isang kusing wala sila,” she said. Sanofi reported global sales of 33.8-billion euros in 2016, which is “two trillion in Philippine pesos.”

“Kahit ‘yung net income nila, malaki pa rin. It is a haircut they can afford,” Poe said further.

She urged the French drugmaker to follow the lead of other corporations, which, when fined by regulators, had to grin and bear it.

Poe was referring to Uber, which paid P190-million after it was discovered to have overenrolled the number of drivers, and two banks, which were fined for alleged violations.

She also added that the experience should mandate a review of future contracts for vaccines and provide for clear liability in the event of fraudulent practices.

Poe earlier filed Senate Resolution 563, which calls for pharmaceutical companies to be held responsible for selling vaccines that are still undergoing clinical trials and to be held accountable for any problem that arises due to the use of their manufactured vaccines.

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