Eu’S Weakness In “Vaccine War”
2021-02-07 | by CusiGO
The European Commission is trying to build on an unprecedented escalation of tensions with AstraZeneca because of problems in the production of the covid-19 vaccine. Just a week ago, EU executives managed to reach a truce with British companies to deliver 40 million doses by March next year. However, the fact that this number of vials accounted for only half of the original agreed number (80 million vials) raised doubts about the strategy of Brussels in the so-called vaccine war.
Some people don’t know whether, at this stage of the epidemic, European institutions have enough legal instruments to bind the six laboratories they fund for research (Pfizer biotechnology, Hyundai, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Curevac and Sanofi will honor their agreements to prevent them from transferring production to third countries, which now provide more money for drugs. With a total investment of 2.7 billion euros, it is crucial to continue the implementation of the joint vaccination programme, which is expected to vaccinate 70% of the European population by the end of summer.
In order to clarify the issues related to health crisis management in Europe, the Committee announced the confidentiality contract signed with AstraZeneca and firmly defended its validity. Sixto Hern á ndez, a professor of private international law at the University of Grenada (UGR), confirmed that “this is indeed a valid legal document that can be enforced in Belgian courts”. Nuances, yes, have “some particularities,” except for those stains that don’t see the final injection price or delivery schedule.
First of all, this is not a normal and ordinary contract, nor is it a result, but a voluntary agreement. According to the agreement, multinational companies promise to make every reasonable effort (the best reasonable effort) to produce a series of doses. If it is not successful, It must inform the European Union (EU) to designate another manufacturer. However, the parties have a lot of room to explain what is reasonable and what is unreasonable.
If there are differences, there are 20 days to reach a new agreement before going to court. Rosa Collado, a professor of administrative law at ICADE, points out that this common model of conflict resolution “is very different from the model commonly used in Spain, where the state usually has the right to enforce its standards at the pre-trial stage.”.
There is no doubt, however, that the most striking clause in the contract is Brussels’s obligation to prove that the fraud or negligence was for damages. Adrian Basques, a member of the European Parliament and chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee, said that this reversal of the burden of proof “puts the EU at a very disadvantage in any litigation.”.
Sources close to the community administration insist that the priority now is not to file a lawsuit, which could last for years, but to get vaccinated as soon as possible. In addition, they believe that the EU has the right to monitor the production of drugs and make them available to the public promptly when problems arise again.
The first step in this regard was that on January 29, the cabinet led by Ursula von drayne passed a regulation allowing 27 member states to control and restrict vaccine exports. But this is only a small part of the heavy weapons that community clubs can deploy. This is what the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, himself, said in a letter in which he proposed to use Article 122 of the Treaty on the operation of the European Union (tfeu) when necessary.
As Luis Miguel Hinojosa, a professor of public international law at the University of Granada, stressed, the commandment cited by Michel is a “real nuclear button”, which will open the door to extreme measures such as suspending industrial patents on the premise that vaccines are in the public interest. However, the professor warned that the temporary seizure of permits could “have a counterproductive effect on the eurozone economy.”.
Patricia Ramos, director of patents at pons IP, agrees, recalling that European countries have traditionally been “strong defenders of intellectual property rights” and are home to many companies in the bio health sector. Ramos explained that a sudden change of position would encourage some developing countries to confiscate licenses for various drugs, which would put European industry in a very delicate position.
As far as Basques is concerned, he regards the actions of the past few weeks as part of the EU’s coordinated plan to put pressure on AstraZeneca and believes that “it should not be taken out of context”. It is important for him that Europe has successfully rescued its vaccination programme, despite contractual obstacles. “The lesson we have to learn from this crisis is that we can no longer rely on the integrity of pharmaceutical companies,” he stressed.