Friday, December 8, 2017

'Nagkamali po ako' : Ex-DOH Sec. Janette Garin finally speaks up anent Dengvaxia controversy

Contradicting to her earlier denials about meeting with officials of the French Pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi Pasteur, in Paris in 2015 to discuss the dengue vaccine, Ms. Janette Garin, the then-Department of Health (DOH) secretary, finally admitted such, Friday.
Ex-DOH Sec. Janette Garin | Photo from Google

Nevertheless, the former Health Secretary emphasized there is no malice in meeting, report says.

In an exclusive interview by Henry Omaga Diaz of ABS-CBN News, Garin said "Tama po 'yun, nagkamali po talaga ako kasi I was being asked on a dinner that happened 2 years ago".

Though the latter previously confirmed that in in May 2015, she set foot in Paris, she denied that she ever dined with the officials of the French drug maker to discuss the anti-dengue vaccine that is Dengvaxia.

In her May 2017 interview with ABS-CBN News, she said she only met with the French Health Minister.

Ex-DOH chief admitted such in response to an interview by ABS-CBN News report recently anent her dinner with Sanofi officials—a matter that sparked questions on whether or not the meeting is indeed appropriate including her ethics being a public official.

However, the ex-secretary made it clear that there was no malice in the meeting; adding that she did not go to Paris only to have a dinner with the drug firm's executives.

According to her, "Kung may malisya 'yun, bakit mayroon tayong kasamahan from DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs)? 'Yung una po kasi talagang intention eh lalabas po ba 'yung bakuna? Kailan ba? Magkano ba talaga presyo?".

When asked if the pricing of the vaccine was something she discussed with Sanofi, she just nodded and said the talks on Dengvaxia vaccine, aside from its price, commenced as early as 2010.

Garin also said, "Kung mayroon akong tinatago, I will not do it in the presence of DFA. Alam naman natin na transparent 'yan".

She confirmed as well that she suggested bringing in the private sector to launch the vaccine in the Philippines.

It can be recalled that in December 2015, during Garin's stint as the health secretary, the country cleared the use of the dengue vaccine.

Starting then, passel of controversies, involving drug's efficacy and price to cite some, were thrown over the Philippine government's immunization program.

The past administration spent P3.5 billion to procure Dengvaxia for one million public school children.

The vaccine per se was prioritized for the regions that are reported to have the highest dengue incidence in 2015.

The Dengvaxia vaccine has been administered to about 830,000 children (for public school pupils in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon and Central Visayas), as of November based on the government data.

It was just last week when the Dengvaxia drug maker Sanofi released a warning about its own dengue vaccine. In their statement, they warned the public that the drug may cause more severe symptoms on people who have not had a mosquito-borne disease prior getting the said vaccine.

It was then that the government suspended the immunization program as well as its sales.

Source: ABS-CBN

Read Things you need to know about Dengvaxia: The Sanofi vaccine administered to 733,713 Filipino pupils

Read Abot-kaya lang pala! | Dengvaxia, ibinibenta sa India sa napakamurang halaga?

Read What went wrong? New York University alumnus explains Aquino and Garin's Dengvaxia scandal

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