The consequences of restrictions placed on the use of certain Pfizer vaccinations have been highlighted in Germany.
Pfizer, the maker of DTP (diphtheria toxoid-reactive protein) and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines – had supplies of the two vaccines cut by 83% for the first half of 2018 in Germany, an industry association said in a report presented on Tuesday.
US Senate chief sceptical of Opdivo in patient deaths Read more
The closure of a local distributor placed a heavy burden on Pfizer Germany, which currently stocks around 13,000 doses of the vaccines. The pharmaceuticals company has been selling the drugs in Germany since 1992.
DTP is used to protect infants from breathing problems caused by tetanus and diphtheria. It’s also used to reduce symptoms of whooping cough, caused by the bacterium whooping cough.
By reducing risks of these childhood illnesses, DTP is considered to be safe to the human body and therefore a standard treatment in many countries, said the association, German Society for Medicines.
Pfizer Germany, which did not respond to a request for comment, has been forbidden to distribute DTP and pertussis vaccines in schools or care centres. Its licenses for other vaccines, including MMR, have not been affected.
“It is fair to say that the impacts of the cut are larger than those we had feared due to the discrepancy between the known geographical distribution of pharmaceutical substances and their demand. This leads to worrying consequences,” said Dirk Schuetz, secretary general of the German Society for Medicines.
“The products supply is a necessary precondition for free-sourcing of public-health service content.”
Pfizer has said it will invest €2.5m (£2.23m) in German health authorities to help improve its services in schools.
Drugs supplied to the market are normally only available in clinical trials, where they are systematically compared to a placebo and other results. “Pfizer’s DTP is one of a few vaccines to have been tested in a meaningful format in real people,” the company said.
Last year, prosecutors in Bavaria ordered a multi-million euro fine against pharma giant Merck KGaA, citing negligence for a “chemical mix-up” that led to the allergy shots being contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides.