British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has already announced that deliveries of its coronavirus vaccine to the EU will be smaller than initially planned, denied Wednesday having withdrawn from a meeting organised by the EU, according to an EU official.
After an EU official stated that the company refused the meeting, a spokesperson said that they had not withdrawn in a statement to AFP. "We will attend the meeting with EU representatives later today," they added.
The EU is waiting for explanations from the firm, even though the product has not yet been licensed in the EU.
AstraZeneca recently announced that it could not deliver as many doses as planned to the 27 in the first quarter because of a "drop in yield" at a European production site.
After two meetings on Monday, the Commission announced another planned discussion with company officials on Wednesday, as it considers AstraZeneca's explanations so far to be insufficient.
Speaking on Tuesday, AstraZeneca's CEO Pascal Soriot said the company is “certainly not taking vaccines from Europeans to sell them elsewhere at a profit.”
“That would make no sense,” Soriot said in an interview with Le Figaro published Tuesday, adding that the laboratory in partnership with Oxford University, has pledged not to make a profit on the sale of vaccines during the pandemic.
Soriot says there were also start-up problems in the UK supply chain, but “the UK contract was signed three months before the European contract. So, with the UK, we had another three months to solve the problems we encountered.”
The Commission expected 80 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine by the end of March, but would receive only 31 million doses over that period.
It is unclear at this time what the next steps will be by the European Commission.
The Brussels Times