Health, Budget offices want to use Sanofi refund to help Dengvaxia patients

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) — The Budget and Health Departments want Congress to give them the P1.16 billion refund from Zuellig Pharma for the medical needs of children who were injected with the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.

The two offices will ask the House Committee on Appropriations to file a supplemental budget to use the money from Sanofi Pasteur to help some 800,000 children who got the dengue vaccine.

Zuellig Pharma is the local distributor of Sanofi Pasteur, the pharmaceutical firm that manufactures Dengavaxia.  In January, Sanofi returned the money covering the unused Dengvaxia vaccines after the government stopped implementing the dengue immunization program due to health concerns about  Dengvaxia.

In a press release, the Budget Department said the refund would be used for the assistance program covering payment for medical kits and financial assistance for children who get sick after getting   Dengvaxia.

The money will also pay for the salary and transportation allowance of medical workers.

Last December 1, the government halted its nationwide dengue vaccination program that began in 2016 after 837,000 children were immunized. The move was made after Sanofi revealed the results of its study showing that those who got the Dengvaxia shot but had no previous dengue infection could suffer "severe diseases."