AstraZeneca and EU both declare victory over vaccine supply spat
AstraZeneca shrugged off a Brussels court ruling to deliver millions more of its Covid-19 vaccine to the bloc by late September in a dispute with the European Commission over supply shortfalls.
In a ruling that both sides claimed was a victory, the company must supply 80.2 million doses of the shot by 27 September, only about 10 million more doses than Astra has already sent the EU, according to a statement from Astra on the Belgian court’s decision.
The EC had asked for 120 million vaccine doses cumulatively by the end of June and a total of 300 million doses by the end of September, the company said.
Astra and the EU have been locked in a bitter fight over vaccine supplies this year after the company failed to meet its contracted targets due to issues including problems scaling-up manufacturing at a site in Belgium.
At a court hearing last month, the EU said Astra should pay €10 ($12) a day for each overdue vaccine. The EU had asked the court to order Astra to supply 20 million more doses than it planned to deliver by the end of June. If the court backed the EU, the company could have faced as much as €200 million a day in penalties for those shots.
“In fewer than twelve months, AstraZeneca has worked extremely hard to develop an effective vaccine at no profit and is the second-largest supplier to the EU’s 27 member states,” the company said in a statement.
The court also ruled that the European Commission had no exclusivity or right of priority over other contracting parties, Astra said.
Meanwhile, the EU trumpeted the decision as proof AstraZeneca under-delivered on its promises and said Astra must deliver 50 million doses by 27 September, appearing to contradict the company’s statement.
“This decision confirms the position of the Commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract. It is good to see that an independent judge confirms this”, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said.
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