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UPDATE: Both EU and Astra pleased with court outcome on vaccines

Fri, 18th Jun 2021 14:03

(Alliance News) - AstraZeneca PLC on Friday welcomed a Brussels court decision over its vaccine supply pact with the EU.

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, meanwhile, welcomed that the decision confirmed its stance that Astra did not live up to its commitments.

The EU was looking to sue the London-listed pharmaceutical group in a bid to force it to deliver 90 million more doses of its Covid-19 vaccine before July. Astra delivered only 30 million doses in the first quarter out of the 120 million it was contracted to supply.

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm on Friday said the European Commission had requested 120 million vaccine doses cumulatively by the end of this month, and a total of 300 million by the end of September.

The judge at the Court of First Instance in Brussels, however, has ordered delivery of just 80.2 million doses by September 27 - a figure Astra expects to "substantially exceed" by the end of June given it has already supplied more than 70 million doses to the EU.

"All other measures sought by the European Commission have been dismissed, and in particular the court found that the European Commission has no exclusivity or right of priority over all other contracting parties," the firm said.

"The judgement also acknowledged that the difficulties experienced by AstraZeneca in this unprecedented situation had a substantial impact on the delay."

Astra said it now looks forward to "renewed collaboration" with the EC.

The EU, in response to the ruling, noted that the "binding" delivery schedule needs to see Astra deliver 15 million doses by the morning of July 26, 20 million by August 23 and 15 million by September 27. In the event it does not live up to this, it will have to pay a penalty of EUR10 per dose not delivered.

"The judge's decision on the requested interim measures is based on the fact, that AstraZeneca committed a serious breach ('faute lourde') of its contractual obligations with the EU," the EU said.

The EU also highlighted the court held that Astra should have deployed all its efforts to deliver the vaccines within the agreed timetable.

"This decision confirms the position of the Commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract. It is good to see that an independent judge confirms this. 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," said EC President von der Leyen.

Recent data has shown Astra's Covid-19 vaccine offers good protection against the Delta variant. Real world data from Public Health England, published as a pre-print, showed two doses of Astra's jab were 92% effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant and showed no deaths among those vaccinated.

Shares in Astra were trading down 0.2% at 8,370.00 pence in London on Friday afternoon.

By Lucy Heming; lucyheming@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2021 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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