Philippine government sues Sanofi over death possibly linked to dengue vaccine

Feb. 5, 2018

A government agency in the Philippines has filed a lawsuit against French drugmaker Sanofi over an anti-dengue vaccine it says was responsible for the death of a 10-year-old girl.

According to Reuters, the girl was one of 800,000 children over the age of nine who were given Dengvaxia — and one of 14 deaths being examined for a possible link to the vaccine.

Dengvaxia became the first dengue vaccine approved for use in the Philippines in 2015. The following year, the WHO released a report saying that patients given the vaccine who had never been exposed to the dengue virus could experience a severe form of the illness if they contract it later. Late last year, Sanofi conceded that the risk of contracting an extreme form of dengue is higher in vaccinated patients who’ve never been infected. The Food and Drugs Administration of the Philippines subsequently suspended clearance for the vaccine, as well as fined the French drugmaker a symbolic $2,000.

The Filipino agency is seeking $81,600 in compensation for the girl’s death. But Sanofi stated that any payout would “imply that the vaccine is not effective, which is not the case.”

Sanofi also stated that no deaths linked to the vaccine have been reported to the company.