09 May 2021,   14:39
EU preparing legal case against AstraZeneca over vaccine shortfalls

The European Commission is working on legal proceedings against AstraZeneca (AZN.L) after the drugmaker cut COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to the European Union, sources familiar with the matter said, writes Reuters.

The news about the legal case was first reported on Thursday by Politico. An EU official involved in talks with drugmakers confirmed authorities in Brussels were preparing to sue the company.

The matter was discussed on Wednesday at a meeting with EU diplomats, where most EU states supported the legal action, two diplomats told Reuters.

However its largest, Germany and France, asked for more time to think about the possible move, the diplomats said.

There was no immediate response from AstraZeneca on Thursday to a request for comment.

Brussels also questioned how AstraZeneca spent over 224 million euros granted by the EU in September to buy vaccine ingredients and for which the bloc said the company had not provided sufficient documents confirming the purchases.

Under the contract, the company had committed to making its “best reasonable efforts” to deliver to the EU 180 million vaccine doses in the second quarter, for a total of 300 million in the period from December to June.