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MSF criticises India’s decision to grant pneumococcal vaccine patent to Pfizer

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4072 (Published 31 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4072
  1. Sumi S Dutta
  1. New Delhi

India’s decision to grant a patent on the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV, sold as Prevnar 13) to the drug company Pfizer has been criticised by the international humanitarian agency Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Last month India’s patent office ruled that PCV, designed to protect against 13 strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae, met criteria for “novelty and inventiveness,” dismissing independent oppositions filed by MSF and Panacea Biotec, an Indian manufacturer.

Pfizer will now have the right to exclusively sell the vaccine in India until 2026. MSF—which has procured antituberculosis and antiretroviral drugs, antibiotics, and vaccines from Indian generic manufacturers for over a decade—had been hoping to use an inexpensive Indian version of the PCV to expand immunisation services in Asian and African countries.

MSF opposed Pfizer’s application …

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