Former Health Secretary Janette Garin denied negotiating with Sanofi Pasteur on the price of the anti-dengue vaccine in an attempt to reduce its cost.
During the joint hearing of the Senate blue ribbon, health and finance committees on Thursday, Senator Richard Gordon asked if Garin negotiated with the French pharmaceutical giant to reduce the cost of the Dengvaxia vaccine in 2015.
“I strongly deny that. I did not negotiate with the price, but Sanofi came to the Philippines and presented their proposal to the government,” Garin said.
She narrated that she was late during the meeting, but some Department of Health (DOH) directors and an undersecretary were already there.
“So I came last in the meeting but I made a joke your honor because it was already at the end of the meeting. I said just update me and I said sana po buy one take one ‘yan if the private buys one, give one to the government,” she said.
“But I never negotiated for the price because we didn’t have money (at that time),” she added.
The P3.5 billion vaccination drive was launched in 2016 when Garin was still health chief.
According to the timeline of events submitted by former DOH Secretary Paulyn Rosell-Ubial to the Senate panels, Garin “negotiated with Sanofi to reduce the cost of the vaccines on June 9, 2015.”
The alleged negotiation, according to the timeline, happened after Garin went to Paris, France on May 14, 2015 and met with Sanofi Pasteur officials and discussed the vaccine’s cost over dinner.
This meeting was followed by Sanofi’s submission on Oct. 29 of an application to include the dengue vaccine in the Philippine National Formulary (PNF) pending the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) issuance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). /cbb
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