Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement on the supply of vaccines against Covid-19, the two parties announced on Friday (September 3). This agreement puts an end to the legal proceedings initiated in the spring by the European bloc due to delays in deliveries.
This agreement comes three weeks before a new hearing in Brussels.
By the end of the first quarter of 2022, AstraZeneca is committed to delivering 200 million additional doses to supplement the 100 million already received by the Twenty-Seven as of June 30, 2021, the European Commission said in a press release, recalling that the contract signed in August 2020 covered 300 million doses. The Anglo-Swedish giant has confirmed this agreement and the end of the ongoing trial before the Belgian courts.
The issue of AstraZeneca’s delivery delays has poisoned its relations with the EU and tarnished its image, against the backdrop of a race against time to vaccinate the population as much as possible before the development of new variants of the coronavirus.
The contract (under Belgian law) signed between Brussels and AstraZeneca provided that the Twenty-Seven would buy 300 million doses from the laboratory, including 100 million in the first quarter and 200 million in the second quarter. But the delays have piled up, week after week. Between the 1er January and March 31, only 30 million vaccines were delivered, and over the next three months the Anglo-Swedish group pledged to deliver 70 million.
The European Commission announced on April 26 having initiated legal action against the AstraZeneca laboratory. “The terms of the contract were not respected and the company was not in a position to implement a reliable strategy to ensure on-time deliveries”, argued the European executive.
The pharmaceutical group had for its part denounced a procedure ” unfounded “, against which he promised to “Firmly defend yourself”. He then felt he had “Completely respected” the contract signed with Brussels.
The case was first argued before a summary judge of the Brussels court (urgent procedure). This had given rise to a first decision in June asking the laboratory to deliver fewer doses to the EU than requested. A trial on the merits was scheduled for the end of September.
Ultimately, the European bloc will receive by the end of the first quarter of 2022 the 300 million doses initially required for the end of the third quarter of 2021, according to the agreement announced on Friday. In detail, after the approximately 100 million doses delivered by June 30, AstraZeneca will provide another 60 million for September 30, 75 million for December 31 and finally the balance of 65 million for March 31 at the latest, detailed the two parties in separate releases.
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