Thursday, April 5, 2018

Raps filed vs DOH officials, execs from 2 firms over Dengvaxia mess

Criminal complaints have been filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against officials of the Department of Health (DOH) and executives from two private corporations for the death of four children inoculated with the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Facing four separate complaints for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and violation of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 is former Health Secretary Janette L. Garin.
Also named in the complaint are Drs. Vicente Belizario Jr., Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Gerardo Bayugo, Lyndon Lee Suy, Irma L. Asuncion, Julius A. Lecciones, Joyce Ducusin, Rosalind Vianzon, and Mario Baquilod. Based on the complaint, they allegedly “actively participated in the purchase of Dengvaxia and/or spearheaded the implementation of the anti-dengue mass vaccination program of the DOH.”
Included in the complaint are Drs. Socorro P. Lupisan and Maria Rosario Z. Capeding from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) which was involved in the Phase III clinical trial of Dengvaxia.

Complainants are parents and relatives of the four children — Aejay O. Bautista, Anjielica M. Pestilos, Lenard Ladi Baldonado and Zandro N. Colite, who are all possible victims of Dengvaxia related injuries and illnesses. They are represented by the Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO).

They also included in the complaint the corporate directors and officers of Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and Zuellig Pharma Corporation. Sanofi is the manufacturer of the Dengvaxia vaccine while Zuellig Pharma is its local distributor.

“The mass vaccination was highly suspicious because the children affected appeared to be healthy. Bakit sila namatay? Nagtatanong po ang mga magulang kung bakit sila namatay,” PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said at a press conference.

Bautista was vaccinated with Dengvaxia on Aug. 16, 2017. Five months after or on January 2018, Bautista was hospitalized due to fever. He was diagnosed with severe dengue. His death certificate showed that the antecedent cause of his death was severe dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Pestillos, on the other hand, was inoculated with Dengvaxia on September 2017. Her parents said the vaccine was administered by barangay medical personnel. She started getting sick a week after receiving the vaccine. She was hospitalized on November 2017 and died a month later. Her death certificate showed that she had Lupus and should not have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

Meanwhile, Baldonado received three doses of Dengvaxia beginning April 2016. He received the third dose on August 2017. Then, on October, 2017, he had bleeding gums. Because the bleeding worsened, he underwent laboratory tests including ultrasound. Due to lack of Pediatric Hematologist in Laguna, his family travelled to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila. However, while on his way to Manila, he complained of unbearable stomach pain and eventually lost consciousness. He was rushed to the Emergency Room but the doctors failed to revive him and declared him dead.

Colite, like Baldonado received three shots of Dengvaxia beginning June 2016. The last shot was administered July 24, 2017 and he died on Dec. 27, 2017. Forensic examination showed that he has multi-organ enlargements, hemorrhages in different parts of his body as well as organ dysfunction.

All four children have no history of dengue.

Acosta said they are still readying more complaints as they are still completing their evidence.

“May part 2 pa po itong filing na ito,” Acosta said.

Meanwhile, Garin, in a message to reporters, said the complaint is baseless.