The EU has failed in a legal attempt to secure an urgent dose of 120 million AstraZeneca vaccines by the end of this month, while securing a judgment that the sites in Oxford and Staffordshire should have been used in the past to comply with the deliveries.
The Brussels court of first instance ordered the Anglo-Swedish company to hand over just 10 million more than it had already provided at the end of September, and to use “its best efforts”, potentially including the use of UK facilities. , to provide the additional 220 meters. with which it is contractually committed.
The ruling was well received by both parties. AstraZeneca said it could easily comply with the court’s dose demands, adding that it had defeated attempts to force it to use UK facilities to serve the EU.
The European Commission said it had won the discussion. In response to claims that the commission had costly failed to achieve the central goal of getting more hits faster, attorneys claimed that the case had pushed AstraZeneca to increase its performance in recent months.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “This decision confirms the position of the commission: AstraZeneca did not fulfill the commitments it made in the contract. It’s good to see an independent judge confirm this. “
The court ordered AstraZeneca to pay only 30% of the legal fees of the European Commission, with a limit of 4,000 euros.
The EU was enraged by AstraZeneca’s refusal earlier this year to use its UK sites to make up for a huge shortfall in deliveries.
The pharmaceutical giant was originally expected to supply up to 300 million doses to the EU in the first six months of this year, but that forecast was lowered to just 100 million due to production problems.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot had said he couldn’t use his UK facilities for the EU because he had a prior contract with the British government that required priority for its residents on doses made in Britain.
The commission, with the support of member states, had requested an injunction for AstraZeneca to administer 120 million doses of vaccine cumulatively by the end of June 2021, and a total of 300 million doses by the end of September 2021. .
The EU executive branch had also requested an order for the company’s two UK sites to be used.
Instead, the judge ordered the delivery of a total of 80 million by September 27, 2021, an additional 10 million on its current installments, and left the company to decide how to fulfill its additional contractual commitments.
However, the court recognized that the company’s failure to use the vaccines manufactured at an Oxford Biomedica facility in the UK to fulfill its contract with the EU was inconsistent with making “best reasonable efforts”.
Jeffrey Pott, General Counsel for AstraZeneca, said: “We are pleased with the court order. AstraZeneca has fully honored its agreement with the European Commission and we will continue to focus on the urgent task of supplying an effective vaccine, which we are delivering on a non-profit basis to help protect people in Europe and around the world from the deadliest pandemic in a Generation. “