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Court rules on AZ and EU’s COVID-19 vaccine dispute

The Court in Brussels has ordered AZ to deliver a total of 80.2 million doses to the EU by 27 September 2021

A dispute between AstraZeneca (AZ) and the European Union (EU) has reached its conclusion after months of disagreement – with a court ruling the European Commission (EC) has no ‘right of priority’ to doses over other contracting parties.

The Court of First Instance in Brussels has ruled that AZ must deliver 80.2 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by 27 September 2021.

In its legal action against AZ, the EC had requested 120 million vaccine doses cumulatively by the end of June 2021, and a total of 300 million doses by the end of September – substantially more than the Court has ordered.

In a statement, AZ said that all other measures sought by the EC have also been dismissed, with the Court finding that the EC does not have exclusive rights to doses over other parties who have contracts with the pharma company.

“We are pleased with the Court’s order. AstraZeneca has fully complied with its agreement with the European Commission and we will continue to focus on the urgent task of supplying an effective vaccine, which we are delivering at no profit to help protect people in Europe and around the world from the deadliest pandemic in a generation,” said Jeffrey Pott, general counsel for AZ.

AZ said that it is looking forward to a ‘renewed collaboration’ with the EC, and that it remains committed to distribution of its vaccine as laid out in the Advanced Purchase Agreement signed in August 2020.

The EC has claimed the ruling as a victory, with Commission president Ursula von der Leyen commenting that the “decision confirms the position of the Commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract”.

“This shows that our European vaccination campaign not only delivers for our citizens day by day. It also demonstrates, that it was founded on a sound legal basis,” she added.

The EC launched legal proceedings against AZ in April, after the pharma company announced delays in deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc earlier this year.

Earlier this year, AZ said that it would reduce the number of doses of its vaccine delivered to the EU by about 60% in the first quarter of 2021, with the aim of delivering 31 million doses, rather than the originally agreed 80 million doses.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

18th June 2021

From: Research

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