EU and drug maker AstraZeneca settle Covid vaccine supply dispute, ending Brussels’ court action

The European Commission and AstraZeneca have announced that the two parties have settled their long-standing dispute concerning the supply of the drug manufacturer’s Covid-19 vaccine, ending Brussels’ pending court action.

In a statement released by the European Commission on Friday, the bloc confirmed that a resolution had been made. “The EU and AstraZeneca have reached an agreement which will secure the delivery of the remaining COVID-19 vaccine doses to Member States under the terms of the Advance Purchase Agreement concluded on 27 August 2020 with AstraZeneca.”

The release further read that “the agreement will also end the pending litigation before the Brussels Court.”

Under the settlement, AstraZeneca has guaranteed that it will deliver 200 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the EU, with 135 million to be provided by the end of 2021. The remaining 65 million doses will be given by the end of March 2022.

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As per a statement released by the pharmaceutical giant on Friday, AstraZeneca has so far supplied the bloc with over 140 million doses of its own coronavirus vaccines, just under half of the company’s original promise of 300 million.

The commissioner for health and food safety, Stella Kyriakides, noted that the Anglo-Swedish company’s vaccines were essential for balancing the uneven inoculation coverage across the EU’s 27 member states after Brussels reached the milestone of fully vaccinating 70% of its adult population earlier this week.

Slow negotiations with the manufacturer, as well as vaccine delays, initially stunted the EU’s vaccination efforts.

The EU started its legal action against AstraZeneca in April concerning the request of faster delivery. In June, the Belgian court ordered the manufacturer to deliver 50 million vaccines, on top of the 30 million it had already sent, by September 27, or face a penalty of €10 for every dose not supplied. 

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