Wyeth, which is in the process of being acquired by Pfizer, has been given the green light to market its blockbuster pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar in Russia.

The US firm says that the vaccine, which is also known as PCV7 and will be sold in Russia as Prevenar, has been registered by the country’s Ministry of Health and Social Development (Roszdravnadzor) and is expected to be commercially available later this year.

Prevenar helps protect against the seven pneumococcal serotypes contained in the vaccine that cause the majority of the disease worldwide. It is a major earner for Wyeth and had fourth-quarter sales of $603 million, up 8%.

David McIntosh, Wyeth's medical director for infectious disease and vaccines in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said Roszdravnadzor’s decision is “an important step forward in helping to protect the more than 1.5 million Russian children born every year from the potentially serious consequences of pneumococcal disease". He added that the firm “looks forward to engaging in discussions with the Ministry of Health with a view toward including Prevenar in the national childhood immunisation schedule in Russia”.

Prevnar is now available in more than 90 countries.