A senior EU official dismissed the idea that Brussels could enter new contract negotiations with AstraZeneca, while the court assesses whether the company has violated an existing vaccine agreement with the bloc.
Brussels began legal action against the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company last month over complaints that AstraZeneca had failed to meet delivery targets with the bloc.
Asked if there were any plans for a new contract with the pharmaceutical company, the block was permanent. “Not at this time,” CNBC quoted Didier Reynders, commissioner of justice in the European Union, as saying. “It is absurd to think of a new decade,” he added.
The Brussels-based foundation announced a new vaccine agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech earlier this month. The agreement includes 900 million doses with an option to receive an additional 900 million between 2021 and 2023.
“It is not a problem with the quality of the vaccine. We said it is a high quality vaccine, so we have no problem using AstraZeneca vaccines,” Reynders said, explaining that the problem is the lack of deliveries.
The European Union expected 120 million doses of AstraZeneca in the first quarter, but received only about 30 million doses.
AstraZeneca said low productivity problems in European factories are causing distribution delays. The company said in a statement in March that it expects to deliver 100 million doses to the European Union by the end of the second quarter – lower than the European Union’s expectation of 300 million doses in that period.
The European Union requires delivery of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine
The European Union today accused the pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, of committing a “flagrant violation” of the contract to purchase vaccines against Covid-19 and demanded the immediate delivery of the missed doses, at the first session of the lawsuit filed in Brussels.
At today’s session, as part of a precaution taking place in a civil court in Brussels, the representative of the member states and the European Commission (which negotiated contractual terms) argued that AstraZeneca had not mobilized the maximum of its production capacity in Europe to fulfill the contract with the European Union. The goal was to provide 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in the first quarter of the year, after only 30 million doses were delivered.
The European Union also called on the Anglo-Swedish Medicines Group to deliver the missing doses immediately.