Why Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) Is Ending Vaccine Operations In China

Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) announced that it was ending the sale of its only vaccine drug in China. The company said the move resulted from the fact that it has not been able to secure renewable of import license for the drug. Pfizer anticipates that China will run into a shortage of the treatment because it is the only vaccine sold in the country that is approved for use in toddlers.

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Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) imports and sells its anti-bacterial vaccine known as Prevenar in China. The drug is sold in the U.S. as Prevnar. The import license for the drug has expired but China’s Food and Drug Administration has not been able to renew the license. There is currently no explanation as to why the regulator has so far declined to renew the import license of the important drug in the market.

Regulatory obstacles

Pfizer has also not clearly stated by the license has not been renewed. Nevertheless, as the Chinese drug market grows rapidly, with the country’s medical bill expected to touch $1 trillion in 2020, regulatory obstacles have also increased, making it harder to introduce drugs in the market. As such, Pfizer could be a victim of the heightened regulatory measures in China’s drug market.

Global sales of the vaccine

Prevenar is one of Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE)’s top-selling global drugs. The company generated $4.5 billion last year from the sale of Prevenar-branded products, which was up 12% from the previous year.

Employment impact

Pfizer has about 200 employees in China that drive the sale of Prevenar in the country. The company said that the workers will be affected as it pulls out of China’s vaccine market. Pfizer has about 9,000 employees in China, who work in various segments such as R&D, consumer health products and prescription drugs. The company is expected to absorb the affected staff in Prevenar sales team into its other segments in China.

Even as Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) announced the immediate end of its vaccine business in China, the company stated that China will be affected by a shortage of the drug. Additionally, Pfizer left the options open for its return into China’s vaccine market sometime in the future if the situation gets better. When it returns, Pfizer will be selling the newer version of the vaccine as Prevenar 13.

About the Author

John is a special projects and general assignment reporter, noted for breaking several exclusive stories.

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