Did AstraZeneca mislead the European Union?

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Published on January 27, 2021 by

The European Union’s heath commissioner has said AstraZeneca’s delay in delivering COVID-19 vaccines is “not acceptable.” The EU paid €336 million for guaranteed orders and is angry the company is delivering elsewhere.

EU officials have claimed the contractual right to access company accounts to verify production and delivery numbers. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is reported to have spoken with AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot before Monday’s meeting to remind him of his company’s commitments. A spokesperson for the company said Soriot assured von der Leyen that AstraZeneca was doing all it could to deliver the vaccine.

Last August, the EU made an upfront payment of €336 million ($409 million) to the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company — the bloc’s first COVID-19 vaccine deal — in order to expand production and secure 300 million doses of the drug developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. EU officials speaking with Reuters news agency last week said the bloc could expect a 61% cut to its order, meaning it may only receive as few as 31 million doses. AstraZeneca has said “initial volumes will be lower than originally anticipated due to reduced yields at a manufacturing site within our EU supply chain.”

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