- Pharma’s Asia Pacific head denied irregularities in procurement of Dengvaxia vaccine
- He said he’s willing to be jailed in PH if corruption allegations are proven
- He also apologized for confusion caused by initial advisory, stressed that vaccine remains safe
MANILA, Philippines – A senior official of Sanofi Pasteur denied irregularities attended the past administration’s purchase of the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia; saying he’s ready to be jailed in the Philippines if corruption could be proven.
“We have zero tolerance for corruption,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Sanofi vice president and Asia Pacific chief Thomas Triomphe as saying.
Triomphe, who admitted he had been part of Sanofi’s entourage which met president Benigno Aquino III and his finance secretary Cesar Purisima, denied that they were trying to seal a deal for the government to purchase Dengvaxia.
“We talked about the profile of safety and efficacy of the product after 20 years of research and development. There was no presentation, we are painting the picture of the scientific data,” he said.
Triomphe acknowledged that while vials of the vaccine had already been shipped to the Philippines even before a contract could be awarded, they did so as a form of “prepositioning” and were ready to have the shipment returned to France if the deal did not work out.
As for Sanofi’s initial advisory warning the public about the drug’s adverse effects, Triomphe apologized and explained that the company equated the symptoms of “severe dengue” with those classified by the Philippines as usual symptoms of dengue—including bleeding gums and low platelet count.
“Those who hadn’t been infected by dengue before have a 0.2 percent increased risk of getting what Sanofi Pasteur calls “severe dengue” cases, but which in the Philippines corresponds to “traditional dengue” symptoms such as fever, low platelet count, and nose or gum bleeding,” he said.