The German government on Sunday threatened legal action against laboratories that fail to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the European Union on time amid tensions over delays in deliveries from AstraZeneca.
“If it turns out that companies have not fulfilled their obligations, we have to decide on the legal consequences,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier to the German daily Die Welt.
“No company can retrospectively favor another country over the EU,” he added.
In recent weeks there have been mounting tensions between leading European companies and Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which has defaulted on promised deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine.
The company said it could only deliver a quarter of the cans originally promised for the first quarter of the year due to problems at one of its European factories.
Brussels has implicitly accused AstraZeneca of giving the UK preferential treatment in dispensing its vaccine at the EU’s expense.
The EU briefly threatened to curtail vaccine exports to Northern Ireland by suspending part of the Brexit deal with Great Britain, which allowed goods to flow freely across the Irish border. It relented after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised “serious concerns”.
AstraZeneca isn’t the only pharmaceutical company in the line of fire.
Last week Italy threatened legal action against US pharmaceutical company Pfizer for delays in the promised delivery of its vaccine.
Top German officials will meet with the drug manufacturers to resolve the issues across the delays.
On Friday, the European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca for use within the EU, the third Covid-19 vaccine it has approved after Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)