The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently defended Health Secretary Francisco Duque III against calls made by Public Attorneys Office (PAO) head Persida Acosta, and called on the latter to “adopt a more sober approach” to the issue.
The FDA issued the statement of support following a statement by Acosta at a press conference recently. In the event, Acosta tearfully called on the Health Secretary to resign in the aftermath of alleged deaths caused by the Dengvaxia vaccine.
FDA Director-General Nela Charade Puno said Duque “has taken the necessary, rational and less-emotional route” to resolving the controversy.
“It is the prudence, caution and sobriety of Secretary Duque that has made his leadership at the health sector effective,” Puno said. “It is this same approach which he has clearly used in handling the Dengvaxia issue,” she pointed out.
Puno branded the resignation call “grossly unfair.” “Secretary Duque definitely wants this issue resolved and will do this without succumbing to the emotional manipulation and circus in media,” she said.
Puno pointed out that the DOH chief has thrown his full support for the three-man investigating panel created by President Duterte to look into the Dengvaxia controversy. Duque had earlier submitted to Duterte the names of four international health experts from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka from which three may be selected for the said panel.
“Secretary Duque has opted for a fully independent body to look into the issue to ensure that the findings are accurate, reliable and conclusive,” she explained.
Puno said the DOH chief had also instructed all DOH agencies including the FDA to “fully cooperate with the official probe” and to “make available any and all data and documents that can help in the investigation.”
“In fairness to Secretary Duque, it must be put on record that he has ordered full cooperation and full transparency in the probe on Dengvaxia,” Puno added.