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.
Rule the world
Pfizer snuggles up to India’s prized vaccination programme
Step 1 - Convince the government to use the vaccine. Step 2 - Get it patented. And now, Pfizer paves the way for Step 3 - Become the first patented vaccine the government will have to buy
Pharmaceutical major Pfizer's vaccine Prevnar 13 (to prevent pneumonia) is the first vaccine in the government programme to get a patent
Panacea Biotec and Médecins Sans Frontières have challenged Pfizer's patent in India, one which was revoked by the European Patent Office
Pfizer is currently offering each dose to the government at less than $3.30 due to Gavi's support. It is priced at $65.38 in the market
Prevnar 13 is an ideal candidate for a compulsory licence because it is part of the government programme