Duque orders DOH employees to disclose, manage conflicts of interest
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III ordered all health officials and employees to disclose and manage their conflicts of interest (COI) in relation to pharmaceutical products and medical services.
Duque signed Department Memorandum Order No. 2018-0060 on Monday, February 19, a copy of which was sent to reporters on Tuesday, February 20.
The officials and employees from the following offices are now required to accomplish a COI form and submit it to the DOH-Integrity Management Committee and Personnel Division:
- All DOH offices nationwide
- Commission on Population
- National Nutrition Council
- Philippine Health Insurance Corporation
- Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Health Care
- Philippine National AIDS Council
- Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
- Food and Drug Administration
- DOH hospitals
- DOH consultants
- Members of advisory bodies and committees
- Technical secretariat
- Hired experts and resource speakers
The information from their COI forms will be compiled in a database.
Duque's order said everyone must abide by the "rules on the management of any potential COI," but the memorandum did not specify what these rules are.
In his memorandum, Duque said it is the DOH's duty to uphold the integrity of its recommendations and decisions on the purchase, procurement, deployment, and use of pharmaceutical products and medical services.
"It is important that the DOH as an employing organization enforces these procedures and work in partnership with its professionals to prevent any conflict of interest between private practice and DOH work that may compromise their public duty to protect the safety and welfare of citizens," said Duque.
He also reminded the health employees that the DOH Code of Ethics includes a "No Gift Giving Policy," where workers are prohibited to directly or indirectly receive gifts in cash and in kind for "details, transactions, or purchase of services or health products covered by the DOH."
Duque's order comes as the DOH deals with the aftermath of the implementation of the now-suspended school-based dengue vaccination program, launched by ex-health chief Janette Garin in April 2016 in 3 regions. (READ: TIMELINE: Dengue immunization program for public school students)
Two congressional probes are digging into the program after dengue vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur said Dengvaxia may lead a person to develop severe dengue if he or she had not been infected by the virus before immunization. (READ: DOH to sue Sanofi over refusal to give full Dengvaxia refund)
A House hearing revealed Dr Maria Rosario Capeding, one of the RITM's experts, received P40,000 a month for clinical trials on Sanofi's dengue vaccine between 2011 and 2017.
But Capeding argued her case does not involve a conflict of interest as she never recommended the registration and issuance of a license for Dengvaxia, contrary to the insinuations of a lawmaker.
Read a full copy of DOH Department Order No. 2018-0060 below: