According to Politico, the European Commission is getting ready to file a lawsuit against AstraZeneca over COVID vaccine deliveries
Diplomats are suggesting that the EU is preparing a lawsuit against AstraZeneca for failure to fulfil contract agreements. According to Politico, two of these diplomats suggest that the proceedings will be signed off on “later this week”.
This is the latest move in an ongoing feud between the drugmaker and the Commission.
According to their contract, AstraZeneca was meant to deliver 80 million of those doses by the end of March, 2021. However, the number was decreased by 60% to 31 million doses instead, due to “production issues” for the vaccine.
The Commission doubted the neutrality of this reason, suggesting that the doses were being exported to countries that paid a higher price. When AstraZeneca begun manufacturing COVID vaccines in the EU, they were expected to go to the bloc.
‘Governments are under pressure’, said AstraZeneca CEO
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, giving an interview about the feud in January, said: “Would I like to do better? Of course. But, you know, if we deliver in February what we are planning to deliver, it’s not a small volume.
Pfizer filling the shoes of AstraZeneca?
Recently, the Commission begun negotiations on a deal with Pfizer, for 1.8 billion doses of the mRNA COVID vaccine.
Announcing the talks with Pfizer on 14 April, President von der Leyen said: “I want to thank BioNTech-Pfizer. It has proven to be a reliable partner. It has delivered on its commitments, and it is responsive to our needs.”
The implication of AstraZeneca being the unreliable partner feeds into ongoing friction between AstraZeneca and the Commission.
The new contract with Pfizer will ask that “all essential components”, including the production of the vaccines, happens within Europe. In addition, the EU is now emphasising a preference for mRNA vaccines – further distancing their rollout from AstraZeneca, which doesn’t use mRNA technology.