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EU Loses Case Filed To Force AstraZeneca To Supply 120m Vaccines By June End

EU Loses Case Filed To Force AstraZeneca To Supply 120m Vaccines By June End
The legal effort of the European Union in Brussels to force the Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca to supply the bloc with 120m doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of June has been lost by the bloc.
Following the delay by the company to ship the vital vaccines after the company had originally committed to supply 300m doses by the same date, the EU had gone to court last month.
But the judge in Brussels was not convinced by the demand of the EU. However a deadline was imposed on AstraZeneca for supplying of the dCovid-19 doses to the EU over the summer or face hefty fines was imposed by the judge.
The EU said that the court ruling had confirmed its position while AstraZeneca said that it welcomed the court ruling.
In addition to those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the two-dose Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is one of the big three vaccines, and it has had the greatest global reach by far.
AstraZeneca should deliver a total of 80.2m doses by 27 September, ordered the judge at the Court of First Instance in Brussels. The judge ordered that in the case of the company not being able to make the shipment, the company will have to pay a penalty of €10 per dose of the vaccine.
The court however rejected the demand of the EU of being supplied 120m doses by the end of this month.
The company had already supplied more than 70m doses to the EU and would "substantially exceed" the 80.2m doses target by the end of June, AstraZeneca said while welcoming the court order. The company also said that the order acknowledged that "the difficulties experienced by AstraZeneca in this unprecedented situation" had had a "substantial impact on the delay" of vaccine deliveries.
"AstraZeneca now looks forward to renewed collaboration with the European Commission to help combat the pandemic in Europe," the company added.
While also welcoming the order, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the order confirmed the Commission's view that AstraZeneca had not lived "up to the commitments it made in the contract".
"It is good to see that an independent judge confirms this," she said. "This shows that our European vaccination campaign not only delivers for our citizens day by day. It also demonstrates that it was founded on a sound legal basis."
The court order essentially meant that the dsrug maker would also have to make use of a British factory, Oxford Biomedica, if needed for delivering its Covid-19 vaccines to the EU< said a lawyer representing the EU. The factory British has been used by the company for supplying the vaccine to the UK.
Among other things, the court order says: "The choice to monopolise the Oxford site for the benefit of the UK and in so doing to deprive the EU of an expressly foreseen production site seems even more prejudicial considering its production capacity is twice that of other sites."
The court order id not explicitly state that the Oxford BioMedica plant has to be used by it to fulfil its contract with the EU, AstraZeneca said of the legal judgement.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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