Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has filed a ‘patent opposition' in India to prevent US pharmaceutical company Pfizer from getting a patent on the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), so more affordable versions can become available to developing countries and humanitarian organizations.
This is the first time a vaccine (biosimilar) patent has been challenged in India by a medical organization, with the goal of millions more children being protected against deadly pneumonia.
Pneumonia is the leading cause of childhood death, killing almost one million children each year.
Currently, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are the only two manufacturers of the vaccine, which could prevent a large number of these deaths.
Pfizer has priced PCV13 (marketed as Prevenar) out of reach of many developing countries and humanitarian organizations.