On Friday, 23 April 2021, we informed our readers about an article on the legal aspects of a possible claim brought by the EU against the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The post could not have been timelier. Today (Monday, 26 April 2021), the Commission announced it has indeed commenced legal proceedings last Friday against AstraZeneca due to vaccine shortages.

The action was brought before the Belgian courts, as is provided for under the contract between both parties and as was predicted in the article authored by Sixto Sánchez Lorenzo.

Stefan de Keersmaecker, a spokesman on health issues for the Commission, said:

The reason indeed being that the terms of the contract, or some terms of the contract, have not been respected and the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure the timely delivery of doses.

It is reported that the decision to bring the action was made jointly with all 27 Member States. It is unclear whether this means the Member States have formally joined or merely support the  action. The further developments remain to be seen.

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