AstraZeneca row: EU warned legal action against jab giant a ‘major misjudgment’ for bloc

AstraZeneca: EU legal action is a 'misjudgement' says Redwood

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Appearing on talkRADIO, Conservative MP for Wokingham John Redwood vented his anger at the European Union for taking legal action against vaccine maker AstraZeneca over allegedly breaking a contract. He branded the move a “major misjudgment” and questioned why the bloc is pressing forward with the legal challenge during a pandemic despite the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jab. He added how instead of saying “thank you” to the Anglo-Swedish company, the EU has made it as difficult as possible all along the way.

The Tory MP said: “Well I think it’s another major misjudgment in a very badly handled vaccination campaign.

“First of all, do the EU remember that Astra was a Swedish company, it merged with Zeneca, a UK company, and that there are still very important research facilities and other business activities conducted in Sweeden as well as Oxford.”

The MP for Wokingham went on to question: “So why don’t they take a bit of pride in their joint ownership and participation of this global company?

“Don’t they understand that this company was first out of the box in getting something that worked and was generally approved?”

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Mr Redwood explained how AstraZeneca “then made this generous offer that during the pandemic it wouldn’t make any profit on selling this vaccine” whereas the “competitive products were going to be sold at profit.”

He went on to slam the EU stressing: “The EU, instead of saying thank you and working with them, has tried to make it difficult all the way along. 

“They’ve criticised the vaccine, sometimes they’ve said they wouldn’t give it permission for all kinds of users.”

And in a damming closing statement, Mr Redwood highlighted: “And at the very same time they were casting aspersions on it they were moaning they weren’t getting enough of it – it’s just unbelievable!”

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The European Commission, with the backing of all 27 member states, has said it was suing AstraZeneca for not respecting its vaccine supply contract and for not having a “reliable” plan to ensure deliveries arrived on time.

AstraZeneca said the move was “without merit” adding it will “strongly defend itself in court”.

A number of key figures within the European Union member states have repeatedly claimed that AstraZeneca has shown bias treatment to the UK but the company strongly denies preferential treatment and instead insists the U.K. were faster off the mark.

The legal action is rooted in a deal the European Commission signed in August for 300 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and left open the option of 100 million extra jabs on top

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But at the start of the year, AstraZeneca said its supplies would have to be reduced because of production problems at its plants meaning only 30 million doses of a planned 80 million were delivered in the first four months of 2021.

According to the European Commission, AstraZeneca is contracted to provide 70 million doses in the second quarter of 2021 instead of the 180 million that were initially arranged.

In a statement responding to the news AstraZeneca said it hoped to resolve the dispute as soon as possible, adding: “Following an unprecedented year of scientific discovery, very complex negotiations, and manufacturing challenges, our company is about to deliver almost 50m doses to European countries by the end of April, in line with our forecast.

“We are making progress addressing the technical challenges and our output is improving, but the production cycle of a vaccine is very long which means these improvements take time to result in increased finished vaccine doses.”

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