Europe’s Legal Battle with AstraZeneca: Why Now?

Europe's Legal Battle with AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca was one of many companies to create a COVID-19 vaccine. As one of the early adopters, the company ran into a few hurdles when rolling out its product. One hurdle were delays, and the European Commission quickly took legal action.


AstraZeneca is a global biopharmaceutical company with strong tie-ins to the science community. They help millions of patients worldwide and were one of the first companies to bring a working vaccine to the world stage. Currently, the company has close to 200 projects in the works. This makes them one of the most efficient companies in the world when compared to others in law managing.

Lawsuits are common for companies of any size. Like other vaccine-producing companies, AstraZeneca faced an incredible amount of criticism for their product. Unfortunately, it’s the demand for their product that has led to the current lawsuit.


The official COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca is Vaxzevria. It was created to bring an end to a pandemic that has traumatized the world. Vaxzevria is one of the few vaccines to get a huge approval rating from multiple agencies. It was previously the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca before an official name change.

Due to the strength of the dosage, only those 18 and older are able to take it. Main trials in the EU show a low amount of side effects with an efficacy of 60 percent. Even with conditional authorization, it remains one of the most widely adopted vaccines in the world.

The Lawsuit

In April 2021, the EU promptly began legal action against the company. Rumors were wild before the lawsuit was officially filed. Some thought the lawsuit had to do with the quality of the product. Instead, the lawsuit was much simpler in its context.

AstraZeneca suffered a breach of contract by not fulfilling its order contract for the vaccine. This was a substantial amount that hurts the EU’s vaccine rollout plans. The original contract was from 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. Up to 300 million doses were expected, and if fulfilled, would have played a major part in protecting millions of Europeans.

AstraZeneca released a statement on the EU legal action that maintains their innocence. There is a case for both sides, but things are beginning to get complicated. Lives are on the line, and Europe is doing a great job of managing COVID. With the delay in dosages, there is a risk of undoing the progress of several countries.

The EU Makes a Strong Case

The evidence from the European Union is solid. It is also dangerous to the bottom line of AstraZeneca. For failing to deliver the original dosage promise, the EU is attempting to enact a 10 euros fee per day for each overdue vaccine. On top of that penalty, they want AstraZeneca to provide an additional 20 million doses on top of the original order. All of these penalties would cost the company hundreds of millions and instantly stall their ongoing projects. A ruling on the case should happen within the month and will be a big blow for the losing side.

Serious Business

Official statements from both sides show the seriousness of the situation. The case will take months or years to resolve, so everyone is gearing up for a long battle. This dispute is already a bitter one, but the actual vaccine rollout is still in full swing.