The European Commission (EC) announced this Friday that it is withdrawing its legal complaint against the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca after having reached an agreement for the delivery of the undistributed covid-19 vaccines.
Under the “settlement agreement,” AstraZeneca will deliver 135 million additional doses by the end of 2021 (60 million doses by the end of the third quarter and 75 million doses by the end of the fourth quarter) and the remaining doses (65 million) to end of March 2022, the Commission indicated in a statement.
“Member States will have regular delivery schedules and limited discounts will be applied in case of delays in doses,” added the Community Executive.
Brussels denounced the pharmaceutical company before the Belgian justice last April, after months of public confrontation, considering that it had unjustifiably failed to comply with the deliveries of its coronavirus vaccine signed in August 2020 with the European Union.
The litigation was separated into two lawsuits, one on an urgent basis and the other on the merits of the matter.
In the first process, a court of first instance in Brussels forced the pharmaceutical company to set a delivery schedule , but required the laboratory to provide only 50 million doses by September, compared to the 300 million that the Commission demanded.
Both parties celebrated the judgment as a victory, at the expense of the second trial taking place from September on the merits of the case, in which the Commission, on behalf of the EU Member States, could also demand compensation for late deliveries.
However, before the first hearing, the parties have reached an agreement that puts an end to the legal battle, initiated because Brussels suspected that AstraZeneca’s delays were not due to circumstances of force majeure linked to the accelerated production of a new vaccine, but because the laboratory had supplied other customers with the European doses.
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