European Commission sues AstraZeneca

The company has been accused of breaching a contract to supply vaccines to the EU

European Commission sues AstraZeneca

The European Commission (EC) officially confirmed on Monday that it has sued AstraZeneca for breaching a contract to supply vaccines to the EU. European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaeker said this at a briefing in Brussels on Monday.

“The European Commission filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca on Friday on the grounds of a breach of the pre-purchase agreement for the vaccine. Certain provisions of the contract have not been respected and the company has failed to provide a credible strategy to restore delivery on time”, –  he said.

“It is very important to us that there is a swift delivery of the significant number of doses that EU citizens are entitled to receive under the pre-order contract for the vaccine, so the European Commission has filed this claim on its own behalf and on behalf of the EU27”, –  he said.

AstraZeneca supplied less than 40 million doses of the drug to the EU in the first quarter instead of the contracted 120 million. A number of EU states were forced to revise their national vaccination plans because of the shortfall in vaccine supply.

The European Commission had pre-ordered 400 million doses of the vaccine for EU states in August last year, long before the Swedish-British company completed development of the vaccine. Since its introduction, the drug has been certified by the European Medicines Agency under a fast-track procedure.

A vaccination campaign was launched in many EU countries at the end of December last year. So far four vaccines have been approved in the EU: a product from the BioNTech consortium Pfizer, a product from US company Moderna, a vaccine from AstraZeneca and a product from Janssen, a division of US company Johnson & Johnson, which has suspended supplies of its vaccine because of the risk of thrombosis. The community says it expects to vaccinate 70% of the adult population by mid-July, despite problems in obtaining the drugs from several manufacturers.

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