In a single stroke, the Indian Patent Office set the dominoes falling on 11 August when it granted $53-billion pharma major Pfizer a patent for a vaccine that can prevent pneumonia. On 28 September, Panacea Biotec was the first to cry foul. After working for over a decade, it was close to a breakthrough, planning to launch its own Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) by 2020. It was relying on the government to buy its affordable version over Pfizer’s expensive one.
Pneumonia and such influenza infections lead to 5% of all deaths in India.