Prevnar 13 hits goals, but impact is uncertain

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Pfizer Prevnar data could boost Rx numbers
Pfizer Prevnar data could boost Rx numbers

Pfizer's latest news for its pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13 looks good if checking off trial goals, but the impact of these results is questionable in terms of elevating the shot's importance to the Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices board.

The drugmaker announced Wednesday that its 85,000 patient trial prevented a first episode of vaccine-type community-acquired pneumonia in adults 65 and over.

Pfizer also said the trial hit its secondary target, which was to reduce non-bacteremic/non-invasive vaccine-type pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia and vaccine-type invasive pneumococcal disease.

The single-shot vaccine is already approved for children under 5 and in adults 19 years and older with certain medical conditions, but adults have not really taken to the medication. Industry watchers, such as ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum, anticipated that substantial data could sway the CDC to make the vaccine a must-have on its list of recommendations, but Wednesday's results do not look promising.

Among the reasons outlined by Schoenebaum in his analysis was whether the results actually show a need to use Prevnar 13 among the elderly if a vaccinated childhood population has the same effect. In other words, the benefit of herd immunity. Schoenebaum notes that the study reduced prevalence of the first endpoint by .1%.

Further driving down his optimism is that Pfizer's study was in the Netherlands. “Given the presumed greater herd immunity in US, this number could have been lower if the study was done in the US...ACIP discussion will be tough.”

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