UPDATED: In U.K., Pneumovax trumps Pfizer's Prevnar 13

Looks like Pfizer's ($PFE) pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13 is down on its luck in the U.K. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) shafted the shot in favor of Sanofi Pasteur MSD's Pneumovax for adults and high-risk individuals.

Pfizer has a hand in the game when it comes to the U.K.'s childhood immunity program, but after receiving an extended European license for adults and high-risk individuals, the company could not persuade the committee to make the switch. This is, in part, due to the high cost of Prevnar 13, which weighs in at £49.10 ($77.21) for a 0.5mL pre-filled syringe and protects against 13 types of pneumococcus. Compare that with Pneumovax and it's fairly easy to see why the JVCI reached its decision. Pneumovax costs £8.32 ($13.08) for a 0.5mL vial and protects against 23 types of pneumococcus.

But two years from now, Pfizer will get a second chance when the committee will review whether Pneumovax is still the most effective option, both in terms of cost and treatment.

"We strongly believe that Prevnar 13 offers a significant health benefit for those most vulnerable to invasive pneumococcal disease," David Bevan, Pfizer's U.K. head of specialty care, told InPharm.

Prevnar 13 raked in $834 million last year, making the vaccine Pfizer's fourth-best selling drug.

- read the InPharm piece

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Editor's note: The name of the provider of Pneumovax is Sanofi Pasteur MSD, a joint venture of Sanofi and Merck, not Sanofi Pasteur, as we first reported. We apologize for the mistake.

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