European Commission, AstraZeneca begin legal battle
Brussels, Apr 28 (EFE).- Legal proceedings to resolve a dispute between the European Commission and Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca over a delay with deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines began on Wednesday.
A court scheduled a hearing for 26 May before a Brussels’ first instance court for civil matters in a process that is expected to come to an end by July.
During Wednesday’s 35-minute session, attorneys representing both parties presented their opening arguments.
Rafaël Jafferali representing the EC said the pharmaceutical company did not honor its contractual commitment by not using certain production sites to supply the European Union.
AstraZeneca’s Hakim Boularbah, wearing a black mask featuring the European Union flag, denied that the contract stipulates such terms.
Although Jafferali did not reveal the commission’s demands, EC spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said the bloc is not seeking compensation.
The European Union wants the company to deliver the vaccines as expected, De Keersmaecker added at the daily briefing held after the session.
The Commission expected 30 million doses to be delivered in December and another 100 million by the end of March
Instead, they received 29.8 million over the first three months of 2021 and only expect to reach 100 million jabs by the end of June, compared to 300 million initially forecast.
But the AstraZeneca attorney said that the bloc had barely turned to the vaccine developed by the Swedish company following rare but fatal blood clots linked to the drug.
There are over 8 million jabs in the EU stock while 14 million doses are to be delivered this week.
Boularbah pointed out that the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said last week that hopefully 70 percent of the European adults will be inoculated by July, two months ahead of the initial target. EFE