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PCMC’s Lecciones says DOH ordered procurement of Dengvaxia

The executive director of the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) on Sunday admitted that he was directly involved in the multi-billion peso procurement of Dengvaxia vaccines.

However, PCMC Executive Director Julius Lecciones, told Super Radyo dzBB that the procurement was made upon the orders of the Secretary of Health.

"Ang PCMC ang inatasan ng DOH, ng Secretary of Health, na kung maaaring siya ang mag-procure para sa pangangailangan nila sa Dengvaxia. Wala naman akong nakitang maaaring... legal o ilegal dahil from time to time kami naman ay nagpu-procure para sa DOH," Lecciones said.

"Inilagay sa akin, itinransfer ang P3 billion lang actually na ibinayad diyan na tinanggap ko at ibinigay sa  Zuellig [Pharmaceutical] na siya pong suupplier, distributor," he added.

In an interview in Tacloban City on Friday, former Health secretary Janette Garin revealed that the PCMC was the entity that made the actual procurement of the controversial dengue vaccines manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur.

Garin, who was the Health secretary when the procurement was made and when the dengue vaccine immunization program using Dengvaxia was rolle out, had said that the negotiation with Sanofi started during the time of former Health secretary Enrique Ona.

Lecciones, Garin and several officials from the DOH have been invited to attend the Senate blue ribbon committee's hearing on the controversial dengue immunization program on Monday morning.

The PCMC head said that Sanofi's advisory, warning against the use of Dengvaxia on people who have not had dengue was "a big disappointed."

He said that when they made the procurement, they were made to believe that there was nothing wrong with Dengvaxia, the first manufactured dengue vaccine in the world.

"Nandoon ang tiwala mo dahil aprubado ng FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines) at pinaimplementa ng Department of Health... safe at naaayon sa procedures," he said.

Lecciones added that the PCMC's procurement of the vaccines was above board and went through a process allowed under Republic Act 9184 or the Governemnt Procurement Reform Act.

"Ito po ay competitive bidding, hindi ito negotiated bidding. Minabuti na competitive bidding dahil hindi naman po pinagbabawal sa Procurement Law na maski iisa ang supplier ay hindi naman bawal ang competitive bidding," he said.

He added: "Na-advertise, may mga observers from Namfrel, sarili naming COA (Commission on Audit), nag-proceed according to the process na nakasaad sa Procurement Law."

Lecciones said he will fully cooperate in the Senate inquiry and other investigations being conducted on the Dengvaxia controversy.

The National Bureau of Investigation has started its investigation into the Dengvaxia deal while the House of Representatives has yet to approve resolutions by congressmen to conduct its own inquiry.

"Ibibigay ko ang mga tamang impormasyon na hihilingin po sa akin," he said.

Before the radio interview, Lecciones met with at least 800 members of the Quezon City Police District who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

During the program, the PCMC head personally apologized to the policemen.

He said the policemen and other people, mostly children, who were administered with Dengvaxia at the PCMC will be given "orange cards" as part of the hospital's monitoring program.

Lecciones said the cards has phone number, which may be contacted by other hospitals or physicians who will treat the PCMC's patients vaccinated with Dengvaxia. —ALG, GMA News