India has granted Pfizer
for its powerful pneumonia vaccine
Prevenar 13, in a blow to some health groups that said this would put the treatment out of reach of thousands in poorer nations.
The decision by India’s patent
office bars other companies
from making cheaper copies of the vaccine and allows Pfizer
to exclusively sell it in India until 2026.
It’s a big victory for the U S drugmaker in a market that has the world’s largest number of pneumonia cases, a lung disease. Tuesday’s decision also has international implications, as several poorer nations rely on India’s robust drugs industry to supply cheaper copies of medicines and vaccines.
Pfizer’s vaccine protects children and adults from 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria, and a full vaccination course costs about $170 on India’s private market. India started giving out the vaccine for free under its national immunisation programme in March, but the roll-out is restricted, so only 2.1 million of the 25 million people in the country will get it this year.