When he was health secretary, Enrique Ona, impressed with a free dengue treatment technology proven excellent in an initial clinical research conducted by San Lazaro medical experts and ACT RX Foundation, gave the go-signal for a broader research. The new drug would incur no expense to the government and would be offered free to dengue patients.
When Dr. Janette Garin became health secretary, she cancelled the study and confiscated all medicines that had to do with the research. Thus Garin committed a very serious offense against the Filipino people: that decision of hers affected millions of children, dengue patients, nationwide and denied government billions of pesos in savings. This crime of omission was more damaging than the series of terrorist bombs in Paris, which killed a dozen or so people.
A check must be made on Garin’s lifestyle. A no-nonsense investigation must be made to look into the possibility of any multinational interfering in the formulation of Department of Health policies. The matter, reportedly, has been brought to President Duterte’s attention, but no action has yet been taken as of this writing.
In a Dec. 10, 2016, letter to the editor (“Health sec yields to Congress blackmail”) I alleged that current Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial was against the use of the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, a product of Sanofi, a French multinational, but she was forced to endorse it by the House appropriations committee with the threat of a reduced budget. I asked if there was a multinational involved in Ubial’s turnaround.
We appeal to President Duterte to direct the multinational-subservient DOH to continue the research on free vaccine for the sake of the millions of Filipino children it may save from dengue.
Powerful pharmaceutical multinationals influence many government agencies and affect our lives and our health, all for their own, much-coveted windfall profits.
BERNIE V. LOPEZ, email@example.com
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.