(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The House of Representatives will open today its inquiry on the controversial P3.5bn anti-dengue immunisation programme, which was found out later to have endangered the lives of victims who acquired the mosquito-borne disease for the first time after they were given the vaccine.
'This will be our first hearing since Sanofi released the negative findings of its long-term follow-up study which showed that children who never had dengue but who were given the shots had an increased risk of a severe case and hospitalisation from the third year after immunisation, said Rep. Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, chairman of the Good Government and Public Accountability Committee.
Pimentel said the liability of Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of Dengvaxia, would not end with it paying the Department of Health (DoH) about P1.2bn worth of unused doses of the drug.
'Graft charges may be warranted against the officials involved even if they did not make any money for themselves from the transaction. Under the law, officials may be held accountable for corrupt and unlawful acts, such as entering into highly injurious purchase contracts, without any need to establish that they profited from the transaction, Pimentel added.
The anti-dengue campaign using Dengvaxia was implemented under the term of then president Benigno Aquino, with Janet Garin as his health secretary.