A Belgian court has ordered drug company AstraZeneca to deliver 50 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to EU members by 27 September, fewer than what Brussels had demanded.
Both sides have claimed victory in the case, with the European Commission stressing the firm would pay a financial penalty for each missed dose and the company promising it would easily meet the target.
The UK-based pharmaceutical firm fell well short of fulfilling its contract to supply the EU in the first quarter, delivering only 30 million of the 120 million promised.
But the court, while finding in favour of the European Commission's demand for interim measures, ordered only that the company deliver 50 million more doses by the end of September.
According to the ordered schedule, the company will need to supply 15 million doses by 9am on 26 July, another 20 million doses by 23 August, and another 15 million doses by 27 September.
If the firm fails to do so it would pay a fine of €10 per dose not delivered.
"This decision confirms the position of the Commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.
Good results for Europe!— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) June 18, 2021
The court judgment ordering AstraZeneca to deliver to us rapidly 50 million doses is good news for our vaccination campaign. It is also a clear recognition that our Advance Purchase Agreements have a sound legal basis.
Our vaccines strategy delivers. https://t.co/wD8OeR8vjy
"It is good to see that an independent judge confirms this," she said.
"This shows that our European vaccination campaign not only delivers for our citizens day by day. It also demonstrates, that it was founded on a sound legal basis."
But, in a company statement, AstraZeneca also welcomed the ruling.
"The European Commission had requested 120 million vaccine doses cumulatively by the end of June 2021, and a total of 300 million doses by the end of September 2021," the firm said.
"The judge ordered delivery of 80.2 million doses by 27 September 2021," it said - including the 30 million it already delivered in the first quarter in its calculation.
"To date, the Company has supplied more than 70 million doses to the European Union and will substantially exceed 80.2 million doses by the end of June 2021."