Press Release
December 5, 2017

Law compels gov't to demand refund for faulty dengue vaccines

Government has no choice but to follow the Procurement Law, which compels it to demand refund for the P3.5 billion in taxpayer's money paid to the French manufacturer of ineffective dengue vaccines.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said that under Republic Act 9184, Sanofi, supplier of Dengvaxia, is likewise duty-bound to reimburse the government because all government purchases are mandatorily covered by warranty.

"RA 9184 has an anti-lemon provision. It is discussed extensively in Section 62, which deals with faulty, defective substandard goods and services. The bottomline is that the government is entitled to restitution," Recto said.

"In fact, RA 9184 requires the supplier to post [a] 'retention money', which the government shall hold on to until the warranty has lapsed, to ensure that goods supplied are free from defects," Recto said.

"This is a standard clause in government contracts. Kung wala ito sa kontrata sa pagbili ng bakuna, may natulog sa pansitan," Recto said.

Recto said in the case of public works, defects on roads, "which manifest within a given period from date of delivery shall be repaired or replaced at the cost of the contractor."

"Kung ang isang bagay na nabili, tulad ng gamot, ay hindi pwede palitan, kasi wala namang ipapalit, then government can demand reimbursement," he said.

If the supplier ignores the demand, [then] Section 65 says "that its properties shall be subject to attachment or garnishment proceedings to recover the costs," Recto said.

The "no return, no exchange policy" does not apply to government purchases, Recto said. "Bumili ka nga ng plantsang sira, pwede mo isauli, ito pa kaya."

Under RA 9184, which the civil service uses as the bible for procurement, even official supplies, car parts, appliances bought for government must pass the quality test.

Recto noted that many corporations have been paying huge fines upon orders of regulatory bodies, "a path Sanofi should follow if it wants to retain public goodwill."

"Uber, Metrobank, RCBC, PAL are some of the companies which have willingly paid a fine, or settled obligations, for operational oversights committed," he said.

"Kaya ito ang reseta natin sa Sanofi: Isauli ninyo ang bayad," he said.

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