EU in contract dispute with AstraZeneca on timely vaccine delivery
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
The European Commission is concerned about the delays in the deliveries and has started talks with AstraZeneca to ensure that the company meets its contractual obligations.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is currently in the final stages of the approval process with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If all requirements are met, EMA could recommend market authorisation by the end of this week.
But there is a problem on the supply side, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a press statement Monday evening (25 January), following a day of talks with AstraZenca that also included the joint Steering Board of the Commission and the 27 Member States.
Last Friday, AstraZeneca surprisingly informed the Commission and the EU Member States that it intends to supply considerably fewer doses in the coming weeks than agreed and announced. “This new schedule is not acceptable to the European Union,” Kyriakides said.
“The EU has pre-financed the development of the vaccine and the production and wants to see the return. The EU wants to know exactly which doses have been produced by AstraZeneca and where exactly so far and if or to whom they have been delivered.”
According to the Commissioner, the answers of the company have not been satisfactory so far.
“The EU wants the ordered and pre-financed doses to be delivered as soon as possible. And we want our contract to be fully fulfilled. In addition, the Commission has today proposed to the 27 Member States in the Steering Board that an export transparency mechanism will be put in place as soon as possible.”
She promised that the EU “will take any action required to protect its citizens and rights.” At yesterday’s daily press conference, the spokespersons of the Commission declined to comment on the legal implications and recourses if the company would not deliver the vaccine doses as agreed in the contract.