Entry into Force of First Agreement for Supply of COVID-19 Vaccine between European Commission and AstraZeneca
On 27 August 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) published a press release annoucing the entry into force of an agreement with AstraZeneca for the supply of a vaccine against COVID-19, as and when it becomes available (see, attachment). The agreement is the first of its kind which the Commission negotiated on behalf of the EU Member States. It provides for the purchase of 300 million doses with an option for a further 100 million doses and will benefit all of the Member States, in addition to a range of lower and middle income countries or other European countries.
The vaccine still has to complete the EU marketing authorisation procedure administered by the European Medicines Agency. It is currently subject to a large-scale Phase II/III clinical trials. AstraZeneca is said to be taking high risks and will be indemnified for specific liabilities by the Member States, while remaining liable for a number of other, unspecified events.
The Commission continues talks with other vaccine producers, including CureVac, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Sanofi-GSK, in hopes of concluding similar agreements with those firms. These discussions and resulting agreements form an important part of the Commission’s European Vaccines Strategy which it adopted in June 2020 see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News Alert of 18 June 2020).