Pfizer sues Poland for breach of contract over Covid-19 vaccines, demands $1.5 billion

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has taken Poland to court in Brussels for failing to honor its vaccine procurement contract.

The Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (DGP) newspaper reported that the lawsuit was filed under Belgian law as the vaccine agreement was signed through the European Commission. Pfizer is understood to be demanding compensation of around 6 billion Polish złoty, or $1.5 billion.

The case pertains to 60 million vaccines that Poland did not collect nor pay for despite a binding agreement.

In March 2022, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stating that Poland would not be taking receipt of Pfizer’s order, citing the war in Ukraine as a force majeure event.

A month later, the Polish government announced it was breaking the contract with Pfizer due to the financial burden of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, including the cost of accepting and providing medical assistance to refugees and other unforeseen circumstances.

In the meantime, attempts to negotiate with the company, even at the EU level, were unsuccessful.

“Pfizer waited to take legal action until there was a change of government in Poland and as the war in Ukraine receded from the headlines,” noted DGP.

In response to questions about the lawsuit, Pfizer stated that it cannot comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Legal experts indicate that the dispute will focus on the first joint drug purchase agreement by the European Commission for all member states. Professor Michał Romanowski emphasized that Poland must conclusively prove that Russia’s attack on Ukraine causally affected its ability to fulfill the vaccine contract.

The first hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.

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