An agreement has been reached between AstraZeneca and the European Union on the supply of Covid-19 vaccines. This concludes legal actions initiated in the spring against the pharmaceutical company for allegedly failing to deliver the promised doses. An agreement was reached three weeks before the hearing in Brussels.
AstraZeneca already delivered 100 million doses on June 30, 2021, and is obliged to deliver another 200 million by the end of the first quarter of 2022, the European Commission said, recalling that the contract concluded one year ago was for 300 million doses.
AstraZeneca has confirmed the settlement and the end of the suit in Belgian courts.
Despite a race against time to vaccinate the population as much as possible before the development of new variants of the Coronavirus, AstraZeneca’s late deliveries have poisoned its relationship with the EU and tarnished its image.
On April 26, the European Commission, which had negotiated on behalf of its member countries the pre-purchase contracts of vaccines (four have been approved in the EU), announced that it had brought an action against AstraZeneca with regard to the contract concluded on August 27, 2020 with this laboratory.
In the dispute, the EU accused the pharmaceutical group of only delivering 30 million doses, instead of 120 million, in the first quarter of 2021.
By June 30, the Union demanded that the additional 90 million be paid under penalty of heavy fines.
Initially, the case was pleaded before a judge of the Brussels court (emergency procedure). In June, a first decision was made requesting the laboratory to deliver fewer doses to the EU than claimed. A trial on the merits was scheduled for the end of September.
According to the out-of-court settlement announced on Friday, the European Union will receive the 300 million doses by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
AstraZeneca will provide 60 million doses by September 30, 75 million by December 31, and the remaining 65 million by March 31 at the latest after the approximately 100 million doses delivered by June 30.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health of the European Union, welcomed the agreement, noting that it would allow the EU to continue to supply the rest of the world through the Covax mechanism. A vaccine against Covid will be made available to 20% of the population of nearly 200 countries around the world this year.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University in 2020, is one of four approved in the EU, along with those from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.