Feb 5, 2019

A vaccine is Pfizer's best-selling drug

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Data: Company documents; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Over the past 4 years, the product that generated the most sales for Pfizer wasn't one of its household names, like Lyrica, Lipitor or Viagra. It was Prevnar 13, a vaccine that protects against pneumonia and other infections.

The bottom line: Pfizer has collected $23.4 billion in Prevnar 13 sales since 2015, including $5.8 billion last year. The pharmaceutical giant got a big revenue boost in 2015, after the federal government recommended the vaccine for people older than 65 and required insurance to cover it.

Details: Before 2015, most of Pfizer's Prevnar 13 revenue came from international markets.

  • But the seal of approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late 2014 prompted U.S. seniors to get the vaccine, which most commonly was given to children younger than 2.
  • Pfizer commands higher prices for the drug in the U.S. The price of a single Prevnar 13 shot this year, before taking out rebates and discounts, is about $195 — a 5% increase from 2018 and 79% higher than its list price from 2010.
  • The patent for Prevnar 13 doesn't expire until 2026, several years after some of Pfizer's other growing medications, like Ibrance and Xeljanz, will have lost their patent protection. (Lyrica, Lipitor and Viagra are already off-patent.)

Go deeper: The rising price of the pneumococcal vaccine is angering doctors, Kaiser Health News reports.

Go deeper

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A protest near the White House on Sunday night. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Most external White House lights were turned off late Sunday as the D.C. National Guard was deployed to assist and authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters nearby, per the New York Times.

What's happening: It's one of several tense, late-night standoffs between law enforcement and demonstrators.

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A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

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The tanker after plowing into protesters on the shut-down bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday evening. Authorities said it appeared protesters escaped injury. Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota authorities said in a statement they're investigating as a criminal matter what happened with a truck that "drove into demonstrators" on a Minneapolis bridge Sunday evening while the eight-lane road was closed for a protest.

What they're saying: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn't appear any protesters were hit by the truck."