BRUSSELS — The European Union has filed a lawsuit in Belgium towards the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca over what it says is a breach of contract within the firm’s supply of Covid-19 vaccine, the European Commission introduced on Monday.
The bloc’s relationship with the corporate has soured quickly since AstraZeneca stated in January that it would not be able to deliver on its scheduled vaccine doses for the primary quarter of the yr, setting the area’s vaccination marketing campaign again by weeks.
“The commission has started last Friday a legal action against the company AstraZeneca on the basis of breaches of the advanced purchase agreement,” stated Stefan de Keersmaecker, a spokesman on well being points for the fee, the E.U.’s government department. “The reason indeed being that the terms of the contract, or some terms of the contract, have not been respected and the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure the timely delivery of doses.”
Mr. de Keersmaecker stated that every one 27 E.U. member nations supported the transfer.
The firm, whereas acknowledging that manufacturing issues have triggered delays, has stated its failure to ship shouldn’t be a breach of contract, as a result of the European Union had positioned its order after different purchasers, most notably Britain. A spokesman for the corporate didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Monday.
The two events had been engaged in a dispute arbitration effort, however the European Union determined to maneuver forward with a authorized case. The contract is beneath Belgian regulation, and authorized proceedings would occur in Belgium.
The European Union’s vaccine contract with AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish firm, was the primary it signed, in August final yr, and covers 400 million doses. So far, the corporate has delivered simply over 30 million.
In an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, stated the corporate had provided solely 1 / 4 of what it had promised to the bloc, and needed to ship 200 million doses of vaccines by the tip of this quarter.
She indicated that the European Union wouldn’t open talks over future provide. “At the moment, the company has a delay in delivering 200 million doses of vaccine by the end of the second quarter,” she stated. “The number speaks for itself.”