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Parliamentary questions
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23 February 2021
Priority question for written answer  P-001061/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Simona Baldassarre (ID), Gianantonio Da Re (ID)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Application of the clause in the Doha Declaration in respect of Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement

It would appear from an investigation conducted by Angela Dewan for CNN(1) that the contract AstraZeneca concluded with the UK Government was signed after the one concluded with the Commission, hence giving the lie to what the managing director of that pharmaceuticals company had said.

Indeed, in his interview with the daily newspaper La Repubblica(2), the managing director made it quite clear that fewer doses were being delivered to the EU because the contract with the UK Government predated the one signed with the EU’s negotiators.

Moreover, the clauses contained in sections 5.4 and 13.1 of the contract with the Commission would not appear to leave the multinational any wriggle room to justify its conduct. These stipulate that the company must not pursue agreements liable to adversely affect the one signed with the EU and must incorporate its UK facilities into the production chain for vaccines intended for Europe(3).

Can the Commission therefore state:

1. Whether it will take legal action against AstraZeneca in the interests of protecting EU citizens;

2. Whether it plans to make use of the safeguard clause in Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement, which provides for a derogation on international laws on patent exclusivity?


(1)CNN: ‘AstraZeneca's vaccine contract with the UK is based on 'best efforts,' just like its deal with a frustrated EU’ – https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/17/europe/uk-astrazeneca-vaccine-contract-details-intl/index.html
(2)La Repubblica: ‘Pascal Soriot: ‘There are a lot of emotions on vaccines in EU. But it’s complicated’; https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2021/01/26/news/interview_pascal_soriot_ceo_astrazeneca_coronavirus_covid_vaccines-284349628/
(3)Il Post: ‘ L’Unione Europea ha pubblicato il contratto con AstraZeneca’ (‘The European Union has published the contract with AstraZeneca’): https://www.ilpost.it/2021/01/29/unione-europea-contratto-astrazeneca/?utm_source=Konrad&utm_campaign=8909662bc8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_09_06_11_10_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f396c66041-8909662bc8-316845621
(4)This question is supported by Members other than the authors: Mara Bizzotto (ID), Rosanna Conte (ID)
Original language of question: IT
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