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EU moves forward with legal action against AZ over vaccine supply issues

Legal proceeding launched on the basis of 'breaches of the advanced purchase agreement'

The European Commission (EC) is moving forward with legal action against AstraZeneca (AZ) over delays of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine to the EU. 

The legal proceedings against AZ were confirmed by the EC on Monday. Spokesperson Stefan De Keersmaeker commented: “On Friday the Commission started legal action against the company AstraZeneca on the [basis] of breaches of the advanced purchase agreement.”

He added: “The reason being the terms of the contract, or some terms of the contract, have not been respected, and the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure the timely delivery of doses.”

“What matters to us in this case is that we want to make sure that there is a speedy delivery of a sufficient number of doses that the European citizens are entitled to and which have been promised on the basis of the contract.”

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.

The EC has said that the company will provide 70 million doses in the second quarter of 2021 – significantly less than the initial 180 million expected.

In a statement issued yesterday, AZ said that it ‘regrets’ the EC’s decision to launch legal proceedings over supply issues for its vaccine.

The company added that it is primed to deliver close to 50 million doses to European countries by the end of April.

“AstraZeneca has 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,” the company added.

AZ also said that it is ‘making progress’ with addressing the technical challenges in its vaccine manufacturing processes.

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

According to The Guardian, a first hearing of the claim against AZ, to be held before a court in Brussels, will take place on Wednesday.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

27th April 2021

From: Regulatory

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