- European Commission launches legal action against drugmaker
- Astra has repeatedly cut its delivery schedule to the EU
The company failed to come up with a “reliable strategy” to ensure timely delivery of vaccine doses, European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker told reporters in Brussels. “We want to make sure that there’s a speedy delivery of a sufficient number of doses the European citizens are entitled to and which have been promised on the basis of this contract.”
Astra delivered just a quarter of the coronavirus vaccine doses that the EU was expecting in the first quarter, while it has revised downward its projections for shipments in this quarter. The drugmaker does not sell its shot for profit, but the prospect of a long legal battle with 27 governments raises the risk of litigation costs and damage payments.
“AstraZeneca has fully complied with the advance purchase agreement with the European Commission and will strongly defend itself in court,” the drugmaker said in a statement. “We believe any litigation is without merit and we welcome this opportunity to resolve this dispute as soon as possible.”
Astra’s shares fell briefly on the news before paring losses. The stock was little changed at 1:50 p.m. in London.