Friday 3 September 2021 3:30 pm

EU vs Astrazeneca: Vaccine legal battle over as UK pharma pledges jab deliveries

The legal stand-off between the European Union (EU) and FTSE-listed Covid-19 vaccine maker Astrazeneca appears to be over.

Astrazeneca and the European Commission have reached a settlement on the delivery of 200m vaccine doses still to be delivered by the drug com[any, ending a row about shortages that had heightened reputational damage on Astra and weighed on the bloc’s initially slow vaccine rollout.

The dispute plunged the European Union into crisis earlier this year as states, under pressure to speed up vaccinations, scrambled for shots. It also caused a public relations crisis for Astrazeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot.

Astrazeneca shares were largely flat in trading today, despite the news.

The deal between the two sets out a delivery schedule that will see Astrazeneca eventually hand over the agreed 300m doses of vaccine by early next year.

However, because the EU increase orders for Pfizer jabs in the interim, some of the delivered Astrazeneca vaccines will go to poorer countries.

Around 60m doses of Astrazeneca jabs will arrive by the end of the third quarter this year, 75m by the end of the fourth quarter and 65m by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

When including deliveries already made, that schedule means the FTSE drug maker will honour a 300m dose bulk purchasing contract struck about a year ago between the company and the EU, after months of conflict over delays.