SENATOR Richard Gordon slammed the pharma Sanofi Pasteur’s publicity stunt, which spurred the latest debate on the reintroduction of the controversial Dengvaxia to address the dengue epidemic.
Gordon said the debate was influenced by a publicity campaign aimed to clear the French manufacturer’s name and enable it to escape litigation for civil liability.
“The entire debate on whether or not Dengvaxia can be introduced to address the on-going epidemic is clearly a PR campaign of Sanofi to clear their name and escape litigation for civil liability.
“It’s a PR stint for Sanofi to pave the way for a new license. And if and when this is granted, they will shake the dust off and say ‘there was nothing wrong with our product. There was something wrong with the way you Filipinos used it,’” the senator said.
Gordon warned against being taken in by Sanofi’s strategy, pointing out that Dengvaxia cannot be used for mass vaccination in the absence of a reliable and affordable test to establish seronegative status.
“Why keep talking about this! We are not fools. The debate benefits no one except Sanofi,” he stressed.
The chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee stressed that while officials are accountable, Sanofi, as the manufacturer of the vaccine, is equally accountable, especially as it was the change in product use that created the real panic among parents when they realized they did not know if their children had previous dengue.
“This was about regulatory capture. Sanofi inveigled the government to use this product on a mass scale because they had invested so much and needed to recover costs,” Gordon pointed out.