The EU Knew About Risks in the EU Contract With AstraZeneca

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The European Union should have known that it was challenging to keep vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.


The Belgian government had been warned that the proposed contract gave little control to the EU to enforce timely delivery of the corona vaccines but believed it was already too late to pass on that warning. According to news platform Politico and opinion magazine Knack, this is stated in documents they have requested.

AstraZeneca has been supplying the EU with far fewer vaccines than agreed from the outset. The EU tried in vain to change this in consultation with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company and is now going to court in Brussels. The contract is governed by Belgian law.

As the feud with AstraZeneca developed, the question arose as to whether Brussels might have unsuspectingly signed a contract that had not been completely boarded up. For example, the British, who initially received their AstraZeneca vaccines on time, seemed to have made more burdensome agreements. In new contracts, the EU, unlike AstraZeneca, now stipulates how many doses manufacturers must deliver each month.

The contract with AstraZeneca offered no certainty, according to the consultant who had been consulted by the Belgian government. In addition, Belgium should make additional agreements, advised Deloitte on August 17, ten days before the contract was signed.

“We believe there are good reasons to expect that the planned delivery schedule will be met,” wrote Deloitte. “But the contract does not provide for penalties if delivery dates and quantities are not respected.” The consultant also warned about AstraZeneca’s priority deals with other customers, such as the United Kingdom.

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