The British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, blamed in Europe for delays in delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine, withdrew from a meeting organized by the EU on Wednesday, while Brussels strongly “
” the justifications advances by the British laboratory.
Read also: Vaccination: AstraZeneca put under pressure by the European Commission
Ahead of the EU regulatory green light for the vaccine expected on Friday, AstraZeneca announced last week that deliveries would be smaller than expected in the first quarter due to a "
drop in yield
" at a European manufacturing site.
The group was then summoned twice on Monday to explain itself to the Member States and the European Commission, which is negotiating on behalf of the Twenty-Seven.
His justifications were deemed "
" and another meeting was scheduled for Wednesday.
But AstraZeneca "
" from the meeting on Wednesday morning, a senior European official told AFP.
Brussels disputes the explanations provided by the CEO of the group Pascal Soriot in an interview given Tuesday to several European dailies, and in particular denies the principle of reserving the production of British factories to the United Kingdom.
The UK deal was reached in June
, three months before the Europe deal (...) London stipulated that the supply from the UK supply chain would first go to the UK
" , says Pascal Soriot in this interview.
In the pre-order contract concluded by the EU in August, carrying up to 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, "
it is mentioned that the British manufacturing sites were an option for Europe, but only later
" , specifies the French.
"We said: we will do our best"
In a passage published by the Italian daily
, the boss insists: “
We are in no way committed to the EU (...) It is not a contractual commitment.
We said: we will do our best, but without any guarantee of success
The EU wanted more or less as many doses as the UK when they signed three months later.
So we said: we will do our best, but we are not going to commit ourselves contractually,
Words that made Brussels react: “
We dispute many elements of this interview, including the idea that the production of British factories would be reserved for deliveries to the United Kingdom alone.
This is not correct,
”a senior EU official told AFP.
On the idea of
doing your best
: the contract provides for the existence of additional production capacities.
So that if there is a problem in a factory in Belgium, we can use the capacities of other factories in Europe or in the United Kingdom
”, he insists.
Read also: Vaccine: delivery delays worry the Twenty-Seven
For Pascal Soriot, the “
encountered in his European factory can be explained by the delay in relation to the United Kingdom: the group's partners had to “
” the production process.
They weren't as efficient as the others (...) It's really bad luck.
Nothing mysterious there
, ”he simply underlined.