MSF challenges Pfizer's India vaccine patent application

March 12, 2016

Doctors Without Borders has challenged Pfizer's application for an Indian patent for its pneumonia vaccine so cheaper versions can be available to children in poor countries and to humanitarian organizations.

The medical aid group, also known as Medicins Sans Frontieres, said in a statement late Friday that it was challenging Pfizer's patent application to allow Indian manufacturers to make affordable versions of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

If Pfizer is granted a patent for the vaccine, Indian drug companies would not be able to make cheaper generic versions.

"The pneumonia vaccine is the world's best-selling vaccine, and last year alone, Pfizer brought in more than $6 billion in sales just for this product," Dr. Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director of MSF's Access Campaign, said in the statement. "Meanwhile, many developing countries, where millions of children risk getting pneumonia, simply can't afford it."

"To make sure children everywhere can be protected from deadly pneumonia, other companies need to enter the market to supply this vaccine for a much lower price than what Pfizer charges," Balasegaram said.

Doctors Without Borders said its decision to oppose New-York based Pfizer's patent application comes after "years of fruitless negotiations" to get the company to reduce the price of the drug for use in humanitarian projects.

Pfizer India said Saturday that the company had not yet received a copy of the patent opposition, and that it was in talks with Indian health officials to try to assess local needs.

Pneumonia kills almost a million children each year.

"As doctors who have watched far too many children die of pneumonia, we're not going to back down until we know that all countries can afford this vaccine," Balasegaram said.

Explore further: Pfizer says FDA OKs updated infection vaccine

Related Stories

Study finds Pfizer vaccine cuts pneumonia in elderly

March 12, 2014

Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday that its blockbuster vaccine against pneumonia, blood and other infections met its goal of preventing illness in vulnerable elderly patients in a huge study required by U.S. regulators.

Pfizer adds $784.6 M charge for Protonix deal to 4Q results

February 16, 2016

Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. swung to a fourth-quarter financial loss, instead of a modest profit, as a result of a just-announced charge to settle a long-running federal case over reimbursements for its former blockbuster heartburn ...

Recommended for you

Mylan launching cheaper, generic version of EpiPen

August 29, 2016

The maker of EpiPens will start selling a cheaper, generic version of the emergency allergy shots as the furor over repeated U.S. price hikes continues—and looming competition threatens its near-monopoly.

Can exercise be replaced with a pill?

October 2, 2015

Everyone knows that exercise improves health, and ongoing research continues to uncover increasingly detailed information on its benefits for metabolism, circulation, and improved functioning of organs such as the heart, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.