The CEO of embattled drugmaker AstraZeneca has hit back at EU criticism of the firm and its lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine, saying they “never overpromised” on the supply of doses and adding that he’s proud of their achievements.
Speaking on Friday, Pascal Soriot, the CEO of AstraZeneca, told a media briefing that his company had done everything they could to deliver as many shots to the EU as possible after Brussels launched legal action against the drugmaker for not delivering on its contract.
“We never overpromised, we communicated what we thought we would achieve at the time,” Soriot said, referencing the EU legal proceedings on the ground of underdelivering.
The AstraZeneca boss admitted that the company has not been perfect but was “proud” of its achievements. “We got involved because we wanted help, we thought we could make a difference. We never pretended we would be perfect, and we’ve certainly learned a few things along the way.”
Soriot called on people to “imagine if we had not stepped up” and suggested the current healthcare situation in India would be even worse if the vaccine had not been available and widely distributed there.
The Anglo-Swedish firm has distributed more than 300 million vaccines around the world. “We don’t regret anything because… we have made an enormous difference,” he said.
According to the Evening Standard, Soriot said that last year everyone was predicting there would be more than 100 vaccines; “Where are they all? Nowhere, simply because there was no manufacturing capacity to make them,” he stated.
In the tweet on Monday, Stella Kyriakides, the European commissioner for health and food safety, said that every vaccine counts in their efforts to save people against the deadly Covid-19 virus and that they would be suing AstraZeneca for underdelivering on their contract.
The company delivered 30 million jabs to the EU in the first quarter instead of the contracted 100 million. It is also projected to miss second-quarter delivery targets by a wide margin.
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