Philippines Report

Garin, Sanofi, Zuellig Pharma, 32 others charged over child deaths

Charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and torture were filed before the Department of Justice yesterday against former Health secretary Janette Loreto Garin, MD, drug manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur, drug distributor Zuellig Pharma Corporation, and 32 others over the death of four children inoculated with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

School children who received Dengvaxia shots offer flowers Monday at the makeshift shrine at the Public Attorney’s Office for 15 students who were also inoculated and whose deaths are being investigated by PAO. Below, Health Secretary Francisco Duque (left) and Sanofi head for Asia Pacific Thomas Triomphe at Monday’s House hearing on the vaccine controversy.

“We have established the strong link between the mass vaccination and the untimely deaths of the victims,” Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta told reporters, whose “deaths are not just mere coincidental, the deaths are unusual.”

“The mass vaccination was highly suspicious because the children affected appeared to be healthy,” Acosta said.

Assisted by the PAO, four families filed separate complaints for the death of Aejay Bautista, 11; Anjielica Pestillos, 10; Lenard Baldonado, 10; and Zandro Colite,11.

Similarly charged were: Drs. Socorro Lupisan and Maria Rosario Capeding of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM); and other officials of the Department of Health (DOH) who were involved in the purchase of the vaccine, namely, Vicente Belizario Jr., Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Gertardo Bayugo, Lyndon Lee Suy, Irma Ascuncion, Julius Lecciones, Joyce Ducusin, Rosalind Vianzon, and Mario Baguilod.

The corporate directors and officers of Sanofi named in the complaints are CarlitoRealuyo, SanislasCamart, Jean Louis Grunwald, Jean-Francois Vacherand, Conchita Santos, Jazel Anne Calvo, Pearl Grace Cabali, and Marie Esther De Antoni.

Those charged from Zuellig are Kasigod Jamias, Michael Becker, Ricardo Romulo, Imran Babar Chugtai, Raymund Azurin, Nilo Badiola, John Stokes Davison, Marc Franck, Ashley Gerard Antonio, Ana Liza Peralta, Rosa Maria Chua, Danilo Cahoy, Manuel Concio III, Roland Goco, and Ma. Visitacion Barreiro.

Acosta said PAO will file a supplemental complaint once the Senate releases its report on the dengvaxia inquiry.The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), on the other hand is conducting a separate probe on the P3.5 billion vaccine procurement.

 

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PAO forensics chief Dr. Erwin Erfe said the victims had no history of dengue infection; received from one to three doses of Dengvaxia; became sick after vaccination with fever, rash, epistaxis, headache, stomach ache, body weakness, slurring of speech, among others; died from 11 days to eight months after vaccination of the last dose; and, forensic examination of the bodies showed enlargement of organs and extensive bleeding in various organs.

PAO pointed out that “based on the admissions and declarations of respondents Sanofi Pasteur, Inc., if Dengvaxia is administered to a person who has not yet contracted dengue, that person will have a greater risk of developing severe disease, which would have been otherwise had Dengvaxia not been administered upon him.” (Manila Bulletin)

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