AstraZeneca, the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group, has declared that the EU has lost its legal battle to obtain an acceleration in the delivery of doses of the anti-Covid vaccine: the company will have to deliver to Brussels “only” 80.2 million total doses by September, against the 300 million requested by the EU. The equivalent of 50 million doses more than the approximately 30 million delivered in the first quarter.
At the same time, however, the Commission argues that the verdict “confirms its position” and reveals the contractual violations attributed to the company.
This is the paradoxical outcome that emerges from the verdict of the Court of First Instance of Brussels on the appeal brought by the EU executive against the company’s delays in delivering anti-Covid drugs. AstraZeneca claims victory because the sentence does not impose a particular acceleration compared to the current supply forecasts, the Commission replies that the judgment confirms the alleged violations (even if its claims for compensation come out reduced by the Court).
The Court: AstraZeneca must deliver 80.2 million doses by June
The Commission had asked the Brussels Court of First Instance to require AstraZeneca to deliver 120 million doses by June 2021 and 300 million doses by September of the same year, bridging the current gap between agreed and delivered doses. The company was expected to supply the EU with around 300 million doses in the first half of 2021, except to sharply revise its estimates downwards. The company has currently delivered 30.2 million doses versus the 120 million doses expected in the first quarter and aims to deliver another 40 million versus the 180 expected in the second quarter, for a total of 70 million doses in June. Hence the conviction of being able to safely reach the 80.2 million doses estimated by September. The Brussels court, the company continues, “rejected all the other measures sought by the European Commission” and, in particular, “found that the Commission has no right or priority over other contractual parties”.
The Commission’s reply: the company owes us 50 million, our position confirmed
The Commission, in turn, reads the sentence in favor of its appeal. In a note, the EU executive underlines that it has ordered AstraZeneca to deliver “urgently” to the EU 50 million doses by September 27, 2021, respecting three stages: 15 million doses by July 26 at 9 a.m., 20 million doses by August 23 and 15 million doses by September 27. Otherwise, there is a penalty of 10 euros for each dose not delivered (the EU had asked for 10 euros per day for each overdue dose).