The European Commission is taking pharmaceuticals AstraZeneca to court because they have supplied fewer coronavaccins than agreed. As a result, the company would have violated the contract with the European Union. Nor did it have a reliable plan to guarantee timely deliveries, according to Brussels.
A spokesman announced the news at a press conference, noting that all 27 EU Member States are behind the move. The application for interim measures is served on Wednesday.
“ The Member States are tired of it,” says Brussels correspondent Sander van Hoorn. “There are permanently too few vaccines from AstraZeneca and at some point you have to see if you are taking that, or if you say: this is the time to go to court. The 27 Member States unanimously decided the latter.”
Health Commissioner Kyriakides confirmed the move on Twitter:
In both the first and the second quarter, the British-Swedish manufacturer did not meet its obligations. Earlier, a company spokesman said that “due to the complexity of vaccine production” some parties were not approved.
AstraZeneca has so far delivered only 30 million of the promised 120 million doses to the EU. Of the next 180 million promised doses, the company claims to be able to deliver only 70 million this year.
No criminal case
A spokesman for Commissioner Kyriakides says that Member States are not bringing the case to punish AstraZeneca. “It‘s not gonna be a criminal case and it’s not about money,” he says. “We just want us to get the number of doses we‘re entitled to.”
Also, the rare side effects that have led to discussion about the vaccine in recent weeks, do not play along the way to court, says the spokesman. “Basically, we listen to the advice of the EEA, which says it is safe. So it’s mainly about the contractual obligations.”
AstraZeneca says it is disappointed and says it is “defending itself with force” in court. The company says “to have fully complied with the contract” and wants to resolve the dispute as soon as possible. At the end of April, the pharmaceutical company also says that it will deliver 50 million doses to Europe, as agreed.