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Parliamentary questions
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23 February 2021
Question for written answer  E-001069/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Laura Ferrara (NI)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Parallel market in vaccines

During the COVID pandemic the Commission has concluded contracts with pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica and BioNtech-Pfizer.

In order to support research into these vaccines, Parliament has approved up-front payments to these companies.

In recent weeks, however, both Pfizer and AstraZeneca have announced delivery delays and dose reductions compared to the plans laid down for the first quarter of 2021.

However, while the vaccine doses are struggling to reach EU Member States and vaccination plans are lagging behind, private mediators are offering millions of doses of vaccine at increased prices.

A true parallel market would appear to have arisen, departing from the contracts between the Commission and Member States which prohibit Member States from buying directly and prohibit manufacturers from selling on the private market before they have exhausted the supplies promised to the EU.

Can the Commission therefore say whether:

1. it is lawful for pharmaceutical companies to sell vaccines on parallel markets (including within the EU itself) through distributors which have their headquarters for tax purposes outside the EU, or whether this is in breach of contract;

2. the contracts with manufacturers provide for real penalties in the event of failure to comply with supply terms and delivery times;

3. any provision has been made for compensation for the EU and its Member States for the ongoing delays on the part of the pharmaceutical companies?

Original language of question: IT
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