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EU asks AZ to deliver 120 million COVID-19 vaccines by the end of June

The EU has launched a new lawsuit against the drugmaker which could result in financial sanctions

The European Union is demanding that AstraZeneca (AZ) delivers 120 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, threatening financial sanctions if the company fails to meet this target.

The new demand is the latest in an ongoing row between the EU and AZ that erupted after the pharma company failed to meet previous delivery forecasts in the first quarter of the year.

A second lawsuit against AZ has been filed, which alleges that the company breached a supply contract for the vaccine, which may result in financial sanctions.

Initially, the European Commission moved forward with legal action against AZ in April on the basis that terms of the contract “have not been respected”, according to EC spokesperson Stefan De Keersmaeker.

In response, AZ said that it had “fully complied with the Advance Purchase Agreement with the European Commission and will strongly defend itself in court. We believe any litigation is without merit and we welcome this opportunity to resolve this dispute as soon as possible”.

Originally, AZ had committed to delivering 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine from December to the end of June, but has so far only deliver 50 million, according to Reuters.

AZ’s lawyer Hakim Boularbah confirmed that the company is aiming to deliver 100 million doses by the middle of the year.

Boularbah added at a hearing in a Belgian court on Tuesday that AZ is not obliged to deliver the total volume of doses outlined in the contract, as it only committed to using its “best reasonable efforts” to deliver this amount.

Previously, AZ has attributed the delivery delays to issues with the production of its vaccine, although the company said in April that it is ‘making progress’ with addressing the technical challenges in its vaccine manufacturing processes.

The company acknowledged, however, that “vaccines are difficult to manufacture, as evidenced by the supply challenges several companies are facing in Europe and around the world”.

Last week, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said that the EU would not renew the order for additional doses of AZ’s vaccine after June.

Instead, the EU will likely rely on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, after signing a new contract to receive 1.8 billion doses of the jab for 2021 to 2023.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

12th May 2021

From: Regulatory

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