The Court of First Instance in Brussels, Belgium, has ordered AstraZeneca to supply 80.2 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine by 27 September, representing only a partial win for the EU.
Earlier, the European Commission (EC) had requested 120 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by this month-end and 300 million doses by the end of September.
Last month, the EU sued AstraZeneca for delayed delivery of the vaccine doses.
The Brussels court did not rule in favour of the EU but imposed a deadline for the AstraZeneca supply.
The court also acknowledged difficulties the company faced in the Covid-19 pandemic situation, which caused the delay in delivery.
So far, the company has delivered more than 70 million doses to the EU and expects to cross the 80.2 million mark by this month-end.
In a press statement, AstraZeneca said: “All other measures sought by the European Commission have been dismissed and, in particular, the Court found that the European Commission has no exclusivity or right of priority over all other contracting parties.”
Furthermore, the court said that AstraZeneca must pay a penalty of $12 (€10) per dose if the company fails to supply 80.2 million doses by the fixed deadline.
The EC noted that the court’s decision on the requested interim measures is based on AstraZeneca’s ‘serious breach’ of the contract with the EU.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “This decision confirms the position of the Commission. AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract.”
The company intends to renew its partnership with the EC and is committed to supplying the vaccine doses as per the advanced purchase agreement signed by both parties in August last year.
AstraZeneca, which is a large provider of the Covid-19 vaccine to 27 EU member states, noted that it is delivering the vaccine without any profit.
Co-developed by the University of Oxford and Vaccitech, the vaccine uses a weakened adenovirus and contains the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein genetic material.
In January, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted conditional marketing authorisation for the two-dose Covid-19 vaccine.