BRUSSELS (Reuters) – On Wednesday, a senior European Union official objected to pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca’s explanation for delaying vaccine deliveries and confirmed that Brussels is demanding it fulfill its contract.
The British-Swedish company concluded a deal with the European Commission to supply 400 million doses of the Coronavirus vaccine, which is expected to receive European Union approval on Friday.
However, given what it said was a production shortfall at the company’s European plants, the company has warned that it will lose its target while continuing to fulfill a separate contract it signed with the United Kingdom.
In an interview on Tuesday, Chief Executive Pascal Suriot said that the UK signed its contract three months before the European Union, and that this has given the company ample time to resolve the “deficiencies” in British factories.
As for Europe, we are three months late in fixing those gaps. Would I like to do better? Of course, “he said.
“One of the factories with the highest yield is in the UK because it started earlier,” he said.
“In any case, we have not committed to the European Union by the way. It is not a commitment we have (with) Europe, it is the” best effort “: We said we will do our best.”
But the European official objected, and warned that Brussels would oblige AstraZeneca to contract it.
“We went against many things in the interview, including the idea that factories in the UK are for UK deliveries.” The EU official said
“Regarding the idea of” best effort “, in the contract we have redundancy. So if there is a problem in a factory in Belgium, we have capacity in other plants in Europe and UK.”
The European Commission has not disclosed the text of its contract with the company, citing the commercial secrecy imposed by AstraZeneca, but it is expected to provide a detailed response later Wednesday.