Sign In
Register
June 18, 202110:21 AM PDTLast Updated 3 months ago
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
EU loses bid for speedier AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries
By Francesco Guarascio and Alistair Smout

4 minute read
1/2
Empty vials of Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
Summary
Judge orders AstraZeneca to deliver doses by strict deadlines
EU had asked for more doses to be shipped earlier
AstraZeneca may have breached contract in reserving doses for UK
Second legal case will establish whether contract was breached
LONDON, June 18 (Reuters) - The European Union on Friday lost its bid to speed up deliveries of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines, the first of its legal challenges against the drugmaker that rocked the bloc as it scrambled to shore up supplies.
AstraZeneca (AZN.L) said the EU had lost its legal case, but European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the court ruling supported its view that the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant had failed to honour its commitments.
The row plunged the EU into crisis earlier this year as states, under pressure to speed up vaccinations, scrambled for shots. Brussels has since largely cut ties with AstraZeneca, choosing not to buy any more of its vaccines for now.
The drugmaker had committed to do its best to deliver 300 million doses to the 27-nation bloc by the end of June, but production delays led it to revise this to 100 million vaccines.
This delayed the EU's vaccination drive as the bloc had initially bet on AstraZeneca to deliver the largest volume, sparking a bitter row and EU legal action to get at least 120 million doses by the end of June.
However, the judge ruled that AstraZeneca must deliver only 80.2 million doses by a deadline of Sept. 27. The drugmaker said it would "substantially exceed" that by the end of June.
The court said in a statement that AstraZeneca must deliver 15 million doses by July 26, another 20 million by Aug. 23 and a further 15 million by Sept. 27, to reach a total of 50 million doses, which are in addition to 30 million that had been given to the EU when the legal case began.
Should it miss the deadlines in the ruling, AstraZeneca would face a penalty of "10 euros ($11.8) per dose not delivered", the judge said, less than the 10 euros per dose per day fine the EU had sought in bringing its legal action.
AstraZeneca will remain bound to do its best to deliver 300 million doses to the EU, and a new hearing is to be held in September when compliance with the contract will be assessed again, the ruling said.
The EU had asked all 300 million doses to be delivered by the end of September, but the court did not set a deadline.
EU data shows the company has already shipped nearly 70 million doses, more than half of which were delivered after the start of the legal proceedings.
This brings AstraZeneca close to already meeting the court's requirement of 80 million doses in total by Sept. 27.
SERIOUS BREACH
An EU lawyer also said the judgment meant that as a proof of best effort, AstraZeneca will have to deliver COVID-19 vaccines from a factory in Britain, if needed to meet its EU commitments.
The company had said it could not immediately deliver to the EU doses from an Oxford BioMedica (OXB.L) factory because it had to supply Britain first.
The ruling said that AstraZeneca may have committed a serious breach of the contract by reserving Oxford BioMedica's output for the British market. However a final decision on this will be made in a second legal case.
AstraZeneca said the court had found that the EU had no exclusivity or right of priority over other parties.
"The judgment also acknowledged that the difficulties experienced by AstraZeneca in this unprecedented situation had a substantial impact on the delay," it said in a statement.
"AstraZeneca now looks forward to renewed collaboration with the European Commission to help combat the pandemic in Europe."
The EU last month launched a second legal action against AstraZeneca over an alleged breach of the supply contract, which will continue after the summer. Friday’s ruling was over whether AstraZeneca must speed up vaccine deliveries.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio and Muvija M; writing by Alistair Smout; editing by David Evans
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
More from Reuters
Play video on original page

Supply chain snarls to cost automakers $210 bln
'Candles' save Chablis wine from frost wipeout
Apple furious at EU plan for standard chargers
Power price surge threatens Spanish recovery
Robinhood to begin testing crypto wallets
Target plans to hire fewer seasonal workers
From Big Law to Netflix
Twitter unveils bitcoin tipping, safety features
Lifting travel ban will boost U.S. economy -Commerce chief
'Aggressive' action on chip shortage needed -U.S. Commerce chief
Read Next
United States
U.S. CDC backs COVID-19 boosters for high-risk adults, workers, older Americans
11:49 AM PDT
United States
U.S. administers 388.6 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC
11:26 AM PDT
United States
White House wants millions of government contractors vaccinated by Dec. 8
11:42 AM PDT
United States
CDC director says boosters needed to protect workers
11:04 AM PDT

Sign up for our newsletter
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals · 11:49 AM PDT
U.S. CDC backs COVID-19 boosters for high-risk adults, workers, older Americans
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday backed a booster shot of the Pfizer /BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions and adults in high-risk working and institutional settings.
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Explainer: Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster in the United States?
10:46 AM PDT
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
S.Korea to set new record COVID count with 2,924 cases as of 9pm Friday - Yonhap
5:43 AM PDT
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
Mexico to use only Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on at-risk kids
6:09 AM PDT
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
U.S. House passes abortion rights bill, outlook poor in Senate
11:39 AM PDT
Latest
Home
Media
Videos
Pictures
Graphics
Browse
World
Business
Legal
Markets
Breakingviews
Technology
Investigations
Lifestyle
About Reuters
About Reuters
Careers
Reuters News Agency
Brand Attribution Guidelines
Reuters Leadership
Reuters Fact Check
Reuters Diversity Report
Stay Informed
Download the App
Newsletters
Information you can trust
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Follow Us
Thomson Reuters Products
Westlaw
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
Onesource
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
Checkpoint
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Refinitiv Products
Eikon
Information, analytics and exclusive news on financial markets - delivered in an intuitive desktop and mobile interface.
Refinitiv Data Platform
Access to real-time, reference, and non-real time data in the cloud to power your enterprise.
World-Check
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
Advertise With Us
Advertising Guidelines
Cookies
Terms of Use
Privacy
Corrections
Site Feedback

All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved