5th Mar 2024

AstraZeneca must deliver 50m doses by September or face fines

  • If the UK-based pharmaceutical giant does not comply with the timetable set by the court, there will be a €10 fine per dose not delivered (Photo: Cheshire East Council)

A Brussels court on Friday (18 June) ordered AstraZeneca to deliver 50 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to EU member states by September, in a legal case brought by the European Commission - with both sides claiming victory.

AstraZeneca is now expected to supply 15 million doses by 26 July, 20 million doses by 23 August, and 15 million doses by 27 September.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Responding to the ruling, the company said it would "substantially exceed" these deliveries by the end of June.

However, the commission lawyers had asked for 90 million extra vaccines to be delivered by the end of June.

The EU Commission has refused to clarify the number of doses delivered to the EU so far.

However, AstraZeneca previously announced it aims to ship some 70 million doses by the end of June, in addition to the 30 million already delivered in the first quarter of 2021.

"To date, the company has supplied more than 70 million doses to the European Union and will substantially exceed 80.2 million doses by the end of June," said UK-based AstraZeneca, in a statement.

Under the EU Commission's contract with AstraZeneca, the company was supposed to deliver a total of 300 million doses to EU member states for the period between December and the end of June.

But manufacturing problems slowed down production, causing shortfalls and triggering a row that ended up in another, ongoing, legal battle.

'Breach of contractual obligations'

Friday's ruling shows that AstraZeneca committed a breach of its contractual obligations with the EU since the company should have deployed all its "best efforts" using all its available factories, including British production sites, to deliver the number of vaccines agreed timely.

"Oxford BioMedica should be used and must be used to catch up with its [AstraZeneca's] contractual obligations," an EU official said.

The judge's decision also adds that the EU was not informed of an "exclusivity deal" between the UK government and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm.

Meanwhile, both sides have claimed a victory.

"The judgment also acknowledged that the difficulties experienced by AstraZeneca in this unprecedented situation had a substantial impact on the delay," AstraZeneca also said.

"AstraZeneca now looks forward to a renewed collaboration with the European Commission to help combat the pandemic in Europe," it adds.

EU officials, for their part, told reporters that "the judgement is entirely satisfying".

"This decision confirms the position of the commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract," EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.

If the pharmaceutical company does not comply with this timetable, there will be a €10 fine per dose not delivered - with a maximum of €500m in penalties.

EU takes AstraZeneca to court for 'breaching contract'

The European Union has launched legal action against the pharmaceutical multinational AstraZeneca for failing to meet its contractual obligations for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, and for lacking a "reliable strategy" to ensure timely deliveries.

EU mulls legal action against AstraZeneca over shortfalls

The European Commission said on Thursday it has not yet decided whether to take legal action against AstraZeneca for failing to meet its contractual obligations - but repeated that all options are still on the table.

'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child

During a plenary session in Strasbourg, an MEP was denied access to the chamber because he was carrying his young child, due to unforeseen circumstances. The episode shows parliament's rules need to be updated, several MEPs told EUobserver.


The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity

The EU's own analysis has made it clear this is economic self-sabotage, and it's politically foolish three months from European elections where the far-right are predicted to increase support, writes the general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.


Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?

Europeans deserve a digital euro that transcends the narrow interests of the banking lobby and embodies the promise of a fairer and more competitive monetary and financial landscape.

Latest News

  1. EU must overhaul Africa trade offer to parry China, warns MEP
  2. EU watchdog faults European Commission over Libya
  3. Hungary's Ukrainian refugees in two minds as relations sour
  4. The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity
  5. Defence, von der Leyen, women's rights, in focus This WEEK
  6. The farming lobby vs Europe's wolves
  7. EU socialists fight battle on two fronts in election campaign
  8. EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us