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EU Commission takes legal action against AstraZeneca

Updated on: 27 April,2021 08:00 AM IST  |  Brussels
Agencies |

The drugmaker hoped to deliver 80 million doses in the first quarter of 2021, but only 30 million were sent; it is now set to provide 70 mn doses in the second quarter, instead of 180 mn it promised

EU Commission takes legal action against AstraZeneca

A man receives a dose of the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre on April 26 in Barcelona. Pics/AFP

The European Union’s executive branch said on Monday that it has launched legal action against coronavirus vaccine-maker AstraZeneca for failing to respect the terms of its contract with the 27-nation bloc.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been central to Europe’s immunisation campaign. European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said Brussels launched the legal action against AstraZeneca last Friday “on the basis of breaches of the advance purchase agreement.”

He said the reason for the legal action was that “some terms of the contract have not been respected” and that “the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure a timely delivery of doses.”

AstraZeneca’s contract with the EU, which was signed by the Commission on behalf of the member countries last August, foresaw an initial 300 million doses for member countries, with an option for a further 100 million. The British-Swedish drugmaker hoped to deliver 80 million doses of that in the first quarter of 2021, but only 30 million were sent. According to the Commission, the company is set to provide 70 million doses in the second quarter, rather than the 180 million it had promised.

AstraZeneca said in a statement that it “regrets” the Commission’s decision to take legal action and it will “strongly defend” itself in court.

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The Burj Khalifa in the Indian tricolour. Pic/PTI
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No. of new cases reported globally in the past 24 hours

Total no. of cases worldwide

Total no. of deaths worldwide

Source: WHO/Johns Hopkins

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