Brussels, Jun 19 (IANS): A Brussels court has ordered AstraZeneca to deliver an additional 50 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to European Union (EU) member states by September or face a maximum of 500 million euros ($593 million) in fines.
In a ruling on a legal case filed by the European Commission, the Court of First Instance of Brussels on Friday ordered the pharma giant to supply 15 million doses by July 26, 20 million by August 23, and 15 doses by September 27 in addition to the 30.2 million doses it had delivered as part of the original deal, reports Xinhua news agency.
In case of non-compliance with the deadlines, AstraZeneca will have to pay a penalty of 10 euros per dose not delivered.
The Court's decision is based on the fact that AstraZeneca committed a "serious breach" of its contractual obligations with the EU, the European Commission said in a statement.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the decision, saying that the EU's vaccination program was built on a sound legal basis.
"This decision confirms the position of the Commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract. It is good to see that an independent judge confirms this," she said in a statement issued late Friday.
But even the pharma company claimed victory, saying the number of doses it was ordered to supply was far less than the 120 million vaccine doses cumulatively by the end of June 2021, and a total of 300 million doses by the end of September 2021 requested by the European Commission.
"To date, the Company has supplied more than 70 million doses to the EU and will substantially exceed 80.2 million doses by the end of June 2021," AstraZeneca said in a statement.