An agreement was reached between the European Union and AstraZeneca on Friday on the supply of the Twenty-Seven with anti-Covid vaccines, ending the legal proceedings initiated in the spring against the pharmaceutical company accused of having delayed delivering the promised doses.

This agreement came about three weeks before a new hearing in Brussels.

Race against time

By the end of the first quarter of 2022, the Anglo-Swedish group is committed to delivering in several stages an additional total of around 200 million doses in order to complete the approximately 100 million already received by member states as of June 30. 2021, said the European Commission, recalling that the contract concluded a year ago covered 300 million doses. AstraZeneca has confirmed this agreement and the end of the ongoing trial before the Belgian courts. The issue of AstraZeneca's delivery delays has poisoned its relations with the EU and tarnished its image, against the backdrop of a race against time to vaccinate the population as much as possible before the development of new variants of the coronavirus.

The European Commission, which had negotiated on behalf of the member countries the vaccine pre-purchase contracts (four have been approved in the EU), announced on April 26 that it had seized a Belgian court to have AstraZeneca recognized the wrongs of the with regard to the contract - under Belgian law - concluded on August 27, 2020 with this laboratory.

At the heart of the dispute: the EU criticized the pharmaceutical group for having delivered only 30 million doses in the first quarter of 2021, instead of the 120 million promised.

The Union demanded that the additional 90 million be paid to it by June 30, under penalty of heavy penalties.

Covax device

The case was first argued before a summary judge of the Brussels court (urgent procedure). This had given rise to a first decision in June asking the laboratory to deliver fewer doses to the EU than requested. A trial on the merits was scheduled for the end of September. Ultimately, the European bloc will receive by the end of the first quarter of 2022 the 300 million doses initially required for the end of the third quarter of 2021, according to the amicable agreement announced on Friday.

In detail, after the approximately 100 million doses delivered by June 30, AstraZeneca will still provide a total of 60 million for September 30, 75 million for December 31 and finally the balance of 65 million for March 31 at the latest. , detailed the two parts in separate press releases.

Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health, welcomed the agreement, stressing that these doses would allow the EU to continue to supply the rest of the world through the Covax mechanism.

This device aims to provide anti-Covid vaccines this year to 20% of the population of nearly 200 countries around the world.

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