AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) has delivered 50 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to countries in the European Union, according to EU supply data, a milestone the company was originally expected to reach in January.
Delivered volumes so far only represent a sixth of total commitments and the European Commission is expected to launch a second lawsuit against AstraZeneca on Tuesday for late delivery, a spokesperson for the EU executive said on Monday.
Repeated cuts in supplies, which contributed to delays in the EU vaccination campaign, prompted the European Commission to sue the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker in late April with a goal of getting more doses by the middle of the year.
On Tuesday, he will launch a new case on the merits of the matter, which an official familiar with the procedure said was primarily procedural but would allow the EU to seek potential financial sanctions.
AstraZeneca had shipped nearly 50 million doses as of May 7, an EU official told Reuters on Monday, citing the latest internal EU figures on vaccine supply.
In mid-March, the company pledged to deliver 50.2 million doses to the EU by the end of April, according to an AstraZeneca document seen by Reuters.
But AstraZeneca had only shipped 47.6 million doses as of April 30, a company spokesperson said, adding that more doses had been sent during the first weekend of May and the days following, “Following requests not to ship to a few countries which vacation during this period”.
Immediately after the EU sued the company, AstraZeneca issued a statement on April 26 saying it would deliver “nearly 50 million doses to European countries by the end of April.”
As part of its contract with the EU, the company pledged to make its “best reasonable efforts” to deliver 300 million doses by the end of June, of which 70 million were to be delivered by the end of January. .
Citing production problems and export restrictions, AstraZeneca announced in March that it would deliver only 100 million doses to the EU by the end of June. It delivered 30 million in total at the end of March.
The vaccine was approved for use in the EU at the end of January, but the European Commission said AstraZeneca should have applied sooner.
The EU wants to receive as many doses as possible out of the 300 million under contract, but a further sign of its loss of confidence in AstraZeneca, it has already decided not to take an option in the contract for an additional 100 million doses.
On Sunday, EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton said the committee also had no plans to negotiate a new contract with the company.
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