Pfizer halts China vaccine sales as import license expires but still plans Prevnar 13 launch

Pfizer has stopped selling its Prevnar 7 pneumonia vaccine in China after its import license expired, but the U.S. drugmaker still intends to launch the world's most widely used vaccine, Prevnar 13, in that market.

The world's second-biggest drugmaker by revenue says it stopped sales immediately, a decision that affected about 200 of Pfizer's 9,000 employees in China. The vaccine is labeled Prevenar in China and other countries.

Prevnar 7 protects against seven strains of pneumococcal disease, the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia and a top cause of death and hospitalization worldwide.

Pfizer Inc. says it will work with regulators to speed the availability in China of Prevenar 13, which protects against 13 strains.

Prevnar's global sales reached $4.5 billion last year, making it a top seller for Pfizer.