Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sanofi and Zuellig Pharma were meant to support DOH in Dengvaxia program, but did they?

Sanofi and its Philippine distributor Zuellig Pharma Corp were obliged under the terms of its contract with the Philippine government to provide support to health workers, teachers and parents for its Dengue Vaccination Program.

Procurement documents obtained from the Department of Health under a Freedom of Information request lodged by this author reveal that as part of the purchase of Php3 billion worth of dengue vaccines, the manufacturer and supplier of the drug were meant to "conduct relevant training/orientation of health workers and teachers on the Dengue Vaccination Program" as well as "conduct orientation for parents, caregivers and students participating in the program".

Following the conduct of the mass vaccination of nine year old public elementary school children in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions, Sanofi and Zuellig were meant to provide support to DOH in developing a Dengue Vaccination Registry, and in conducting post-marketing surveillance, adverse effects following immunization (AEFI) response and related studies.

The French company was meant to support training on pharmacovigilance and Good Clinical Practice (CGC). In addition, the terms state that "the supplier shall be held liable in cases of adverse reactions due to impurities secondary to their negligence." These terms were accepted by a representative of Zuellig Pharma, who signed the document.

The question to be asked now is whether the support was adequately supplied. One would have thought that if proper guidelines had been established for undertaking the immunization in a safe manner, and if health workers, teachers and carers were properly informed of the risks associated with this new vaccine, that the misapplication of it could have been avoided.

Proper education and training about the groups at-risk of adverse reactions to the drug, namely seronegative children, or pupils who had not been previously infected with any of the strains of dengue, could have prevented the trauma suffered by families of these children. If in fact the terms of the contract were not upheld, then Sanofi and Zuellig should be held liable for their negligence. The source documents for this post are found below.


Towards a New Philippine Political Architecture

Tomorrow the Senate committees on electoral reforms and people's participation as well as constitutional amendments and revisions of codes will hold a hearing on political dynasties.

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan announced it on Twitter.

In 2013, at the height of the #ScrapPork protests, I wrote a policy brief on reforming Philippine political institutions and governance. Instituting either a ban or a cap on political dynasties needs to go hand in hand with electoral reforms that would strengthen political parties. The paper is found below and can be downloaded here. Could this be an idea whose time has come?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Episode 15: The question of Philippine federalism, Part 3

Now that congress has formally started hearings on charter revisions to shift to a federal structure of government, some legislators are asking: Well, what’s the benefit to the public? Is federalism worth the trouble? The same goes for the proposed adoption of a semi-parliamentary form of government. And is it appropriate for the Philippines, a country of over 100 million people, dispersed over 7,000 islands? In this third and final installment to this series, we seek to supply the answer to these questions, as well as offer a critique of the proposed revisions of the ruling PDP-Laban.

Listen to the podcast here.

Read the transcripts here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SEC's Ruling on Rappler

The revocation of Rappler's certificate of incorporation by the Securities and Exchange Commission is contained in SEC Resolution 437, Series of 2017 dated 8 July 2017.

Central to the decision was whether Rappler had ceded control over the corporate policy and management of the company to a foreign party. The Philippine constitution requires mass media companies to be wholly owned by Filipinos.

Rappler was found by the SEC en banc to be in breach of the Anti-Dummy Act, the Mass Media Law, and the Foreign Investments Act.

Towards a well-informed public debate over this latest controversy involving the media outfit, the SEC's decision in its entirety is found below. The document may also be accessed on the SEC's archive of decisions for 2018 here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Episode 14: Twelve constitutional fixes needed for the Philippines

There are things within our present charter that need fixing. Twelve to be exact. These revisions won’t require any term extensions or postponement of elections. This episode will be devoted to discussing each of them. Hopefully the need to fix them will be self-evident, and may result in some kind of consensus, across party-lines [image credit:]. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Episode 13: How does change come about?

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. Corruption reigns, political families reign, now drugs and criminality, secession and rebellion persist. Much of our society is still mired in poverty. How do we achieve real, lasting change? We look at the context, prospects and pace of change in the Philippines in this episode. Erratum: Tocqueville's Democracy in America was published in 1835, not in the late 1700s as mentioned in the piece.
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the transcript here.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Episode 12: The question of Philippine federalism, Part 2

Some critics of this push for federalism have questioned why? Why empower local elites, who might run their regional governments like personal fiefdoms? Greater fiscal autonomy will just bloat the bureaucracy and provide greater opportunities for corruption.

Since political dynasties resurfaced after EDSA ‘86 and still dominate the current political landscape, how do we convince these powerful elites to legislate something that might harm their own interests? What’s in it for them to begin with, in other words?

In this episode we look at the proposals for political and electoral reforms, proposed by the Federal Institute Study Group, which would allow the Philippines to gain the full benefit of localization through federalism.