EU to begin legal proceedings against AstraZeneca over supply shortages
Following months of frustration over Europe-wide shortages in the number of vaccine doses promised by the pharmaceutical company responsible for the UK-developed Covid-19 jab, the European Commission has confirmed that it plans to sue AstraZeneca for failing to keep up its side of the bargain in delivering the agreed doses to the 17 member states. According to Spanish news outlet Politico, the decision to take legal action was made during a meeting of EU diplomats on Wednesday, April 21, as a means of forcing the Anglo-Swedish company to fulfil its contractual obligations.
The diplomatic sources confirmed that they would give it until the end of the week before they file the lawsuit, in the culmination of a dispute that has been raging since January when AstraZeneca claimed it couldn’t supply nearly as many vaccinations as it had initially promised to Europe. Earlier this month, the pharmaceutical company claimed that it was “working tirelessly” to increase its supply to Spain, after regional leaders were left furious over the impact the delays were having on Spain’s vaccine rollout plan.
On April 2, AstraZeneca president Rick R Suraz said that “what is really important now is to have as many vaccines as possible and to continue with the vaccination campaigns in the different countries to put an end to this unprecedented pandemic.” To this end, he reiterated that the drug company is “working tirelessly and hand in hand with the authorities”.
By the end of March, Astra-Zeneca had supplied some 30 million doses of the jab to countries in the European Union, a figure that fell far short of the 100 million promised and supposedly guaranteed by its contract. Furthermore, while 300 million vaccines are supposed to reach the EU by the end of the second quarter of the year, AstraZeneca has recently said that it will only be able to deliver 70 million, as reported by Informacion.