Sanofi Pasteur agrees to refund P1.4 billion worth of unused Dengvaxia vaccines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 15) — Pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur on Monday responded to the Health Department's demand to refund unused vials of the controversial Dengvaxia.

Sanofi Pasteur agreed to reimburse P1.4 billion worth of the dengue vaccine.

"Sanofi Pasteur has responded positively to the Philippine Department of Health's request that we provide reimbursement for the doses of Dengvaxia that were not used by the government in the public vaccination program," it said in a statement.

The vaccine maker also clarified that the reimbursement was not done because of a quality issue with Dengvaxia.

"Sanofi Pasteur hopes that this decision will allow us to be able to work more openly and constructively with the DoH to address the negative tone towards the dengue vaccine in the Philippines today," it said.

It said they have asked to meet with DOH officials regarding the refund.

The DOH on January 12 wrote a demand letter to Sanofi Pasteur to refund the unused Dengvaxia vials.

In a separate letter, the DOH also requested Sanofi Pasteur to shoulder the costs of serotesting over 830,000 Dengvaxia vaccinees, which were mostly children.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously demanded from Sanofi Pasteur a full refund of the P3.5 billion the government paid for the vaccines in 2016, following the health risks from Dengvaxia.

Sanofi Pasteur on November 29 said those who were immunized with Dengvaxia, but did not have a prior dengue infection, are at risk of having "severe disease." The DOH said around 10 percent or 80,000 of vaccinated children are at risk.

This prompted the DOH to temporarily halt its dengue vaccination program on December 1.