Pfizer has been awarded a patent in India for its Prevenar 13, a powerful pneumonia vaccine in a country with the world's largest number of pneumonia cases.
This patent will stop other companies from making copies of the vaccine and allows the company to sell the vaccine exclusively in the country until 2026.
Some health groups have characterized the decision as a blow, as several poorer nations rely on India's drugs industry to supply cheaper copies of medication. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) made headlines last year when it turned down Pfizer’s offer of one million free Prevnar 13 vaccines, claiming that pharma companies use donations as "justification for why prices remain high for others, including other humanitarian organizations and developing countries."
Prevenar 13 works for children and adults and protects from 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. In 2017, India began administering the vaccine for free under its national immunization program.
Pfizer's patent on the vaccine was already revoked by the European Patent Office and is currently under challenge in South Korea and the United States.
Read the Reuters report