Probe of deaths linked to Dengvaxia finished

November 04, 2018

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) officially wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the first batch of cases involving deaths of school children inoculated with anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

A panel of prosecutors announced that the cases, after all the pleadings have been filed, were deemed submitted for resolution.

The first batch of cases filed last April and May involved the deaths of Aejay Bautista, Angelica Pestilos, Lenard Baldonado, Zandro Colite, Abbie Hedia, Jansyn Bataan, Mark Axel Ebonia, Rey Justin Almagno and Alexander Jaime.

Their families sued incumbent and former health officials led by ex-secretary Janette Garin, and several other individuals for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and violations of Anti-Torture Act and Consumer Act.

Named respondents along with Garin were nine other DoH officials -- Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr., Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-go, Dr. Gerardo Bayugo, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, Dr. Irma Asuncion, Dr. Julius Lecciones, Dr. Joyce Ducusin, Rosalind Vianzon, and Mario Baquilod, along with Drs. Socorro Lupisan and Maria Rosario Capeding of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Incumbent Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was included in the charge sheet since in two cases the victims got their Dengvaxia shots during his term.

Executives of manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur were also included in the complaints, namely: Carlito Realuyo, Sanislas Camart, Jean Louis Grunwald, Jean-Francois Vacherand, Conchita Santos, Jazel Anne Calvo, Pearl Grace Cabali and Marie Esther De Antoni.

Also charged were officers of distributor Zuellig Pharma Kasigod Jamias, Michael Becker, Ricardo Romulo, Imran Babar Chugtai, Raymund Azurin, Nilo Badiola, John Stokes Davison, Marc Franck, Ashley Gerard Antonio, Ana Liza Peralta, Rosa Maria Chua, Danilo Cahoy, Manuel Concio III, Roland Goco and Ma. Visitacion Barreiro. They were accused of negligence through “arbitrarily, maliciously, and deliberately failing to inform the Dengvaxia recipients and their parents/families of the dangers and risks related to Dengvaxia and to obtain their informed consent.”

Two more batches of cases involving 18 other cases are undergoing separate preliminary investigation by the DoJ.