Gloom was the predominant mood on the sunny day this autumn when Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) explained to Delhi journalists how it lost a long legal battle with Pfizer over the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or PCV. The US pharma major had been granted a patent for Prevnar 13, said Leena Menghaney, South Asia head of MSF’s Access Campaign. That meant a 68 per cent rise in the cost of the vaccine available to developing countries.
The Indian patent authorities’ decision means each dose of the vaccine available to parents will cost Rs 3,800. Moreover, the spike in cost of procurement disables even the government to make the PCV available under the Universal Immunisation Programme.