EU ends dispute with AstraZeneca over vaccine delivery

Covid-19 vaccine update

The European Commission ended its fierce court dispute with AstraZeneca over the delay of the Covid-19 vaccine and abandoned its attempt to impose a multi-billion-euro fine on the British drugmaker.

According to the settlement agreement, AstraZeneca missed the deadline for delivery of the drug by the end of June and must complete the delivery to the European Union before the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The severe delay in EU deliveries in the early stages of the pandemic led to escalation of tensions and ultimately led to the lawsuits requested by Brussels in April A fine of 10 euros per day If AstraZeneca fails to provide another 20 million injections by the end of June, this could cause billions of euros in losses.

The revised timetable includes reduced penalties for any further delivery issues in the form of rebates.

Due to the slow progress of the EU vaccination plan this year, officials criticized AstraZeneca, complaining that it has been more successful in fulfilling its contract with the British government.

AstraZeneca argued that it had made “best efforts” as required by the contract and that vaccine production was complicated. Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca Tell the financial times In May of this year, EU factories have been working hard to expand production scale, while other factories have not.

If the company fails to meet the new target, it will have to pay a “rebate” as a percentage of the cost of the vaccine, about $3 to $4. These start with a one-month delay of 10%, and if they are delayed for three months or more, they rise to 40%. If the delay is not within AstraZeneca’s control, no rebate will be granted.

Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the settlement guarantees the delivery of AstraZeneca’s remaining 200 million doses.

“Although we reached the important milestone of full vaccination of 70% of the EU adult population this week, there are significant differences in vaccination rates among our member states, and the continued supply of vaccines, including AstraZeneca, remains crucial,” she says.

The EU ordered 300 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, but only 68 million doses were vaccinated. Supply shortage was a problem earlier this year, but recently the European Union has used BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to complete most of its vaccination campaigns, and 393 million vaccines have been vaccinated so far. Although the availability of AstraZeneca has improved, its use has been restricted after rare side effects were discovered.

The forecasts of Airfinity, a life science intelligence service, indicate that the EU will be able to achieve its vaccination goals and use boosters without relying on AstraZeneca’s vaccines.

According to the new agreement, AstraZeneca’s commitment is a “firm commitment” rather than a “best effort.” The transaction also depends on the European Medicines Agency’s approval of AstraZeneca’s two new production sites by the end of October. A company spokesperson said it was “confident” that it would be able to deliver on the new schedule.

Ruud Dobber, executive vice president of the company’s biopharmaceutical business, said he was pleased that the two reached a “consensus.”

“We are fully committed to making Vaxzevria [the brand name of the vaccine] So far, after providing more than 140 million doses without profit, it has provided services to Europe,” he said.

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