July 25, 2021

European Union obtains fewer doses of vaccine in court than demanded from AstraZeneca

The judgment was welcomed by both parties, who have been in conflict for two months before a Belgian court. Anglo-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca, sued for delivery delays, was forced to provide the European Union (EU) with 50 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of September, a smaller quantity what the European Commission demanded, according to a judgment rendered on Friday June 18 by the Brussels Court of First Instance

The pharmaceutical group had contracted to do its best to deliver 300 million doses of its vaccine to the Twenty-Seven by the end of June 2021, but it subsequently drastically reduced this target, citing production problems.

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The Anglo-Swedish laboratory delivered in the first quarter only 30 million doses out of the 120 million that it was contractually bound to provide. For the current quarter, the second, he planned to deliver only 70 million doses of the 180 million promised. By its legal action initiated in the spring, the European Commission demanded that the additional 90 million be delivered to it by June 30, under penalty of penalties.

Friday the Brussels judge decided otherwise and imposed the following delivery schedule to the laboratory: 15 million doses before July 26, then 20 million by August 23 at the latest and another 15 million by September 27. Each dose missing by these dates will result in a financial penalty of 10 euros “Due to the European Union”, according to the decision.

A schedule that is not very restrictive for the laboratory, especially since it has already largely made up for its delay. AstraZeneca assured Friday to have “Already supplied more than 70 million doses to the European Union” nowadays.

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Both sides welcome the decision

The total of 80 million doses requested will be “Largely outdated” from here to ” end of June “, argued the group in a statement. According to AstraZeneca, the judge also recognizes that the Europeans had “No exclusivity or right of priority” compared to other countries with which the laboratory was commercially engaged.

During the trial, EU lawyers accused him of having privileged the supply of the United Kingdom to the detriment of the Twenty-Seven. AstraZeneca has never ceased to remind that “The Commission was informed last summer, during the tendering process, that the UK government would have priority over the UK supply chain”.

AstraZeneca said on Friday that other requests from the Commission had been rejected. “The judgment also recognizes that the difficulties encountered by AstraZeneca in the face of this unprecedented situation had a significant impact on the delay”, added the pharmaceutical company. “AstraZeneca now looks forward to renewing its collaboration with the European Commission to participate in the fight against the pandemic in Europe”, he continued.

The European Commission, which had negotiated the vaccine pre-purchase contracts on behalf of the 27 member states, was also delighted. “This is good news for our vaccination campaign”, reacted in a tweet the President of the European Executive, Ursula von der Leyen.

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A total of 300 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been ordered by the EU. During the pleadings held in May, the laboratory pledged to have delivered the set before the end of the year, while the EU demanded to have received everything by September 30 at the latest.

The dispute between the two parties does not end there, with the Commission taking another lawsuit last month to demand financial compensation for the delays in the laboratory’s delivery. An EU lawyer said Friday’s judgment would be reviewed before deciding whether or not to pursue this second lawsuit.

The World with AFP