AstraZeneca’s president Pascal Suriot responds to critics in Brussels who complained about vaccine shortages
Pascal Soriot, president of AstraZeneca, responded to critics in Brussels who complained about the lack of stab wounds, saying the company had “ done its best ”.
He said that Astrazeneca was instrumental in delivering the vaccines to India and denied that the company had “broken its promises” in Europe, adding, “We never pretended that we would be perfect.”
The French businessman, who has been holed up in his family’s home in Australia since Christmas, has faced attacks from the European Union and various European governments over the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Fighting talk: Pascal Soriot faced attacks from the European Union and various European governments over the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine
The European Union, with the support of all 27 member states, is taking legal action against the London-listed company for failing to honor its contract to deliver 300 million doses.
Soriot, 61, said he was “ sorry ” that he was unable to deliver as many punches as possible to Europe as expected, but manufacturing the snaps was a complicated business. He added, “We have never exaggerated our promises. We were informed of what we thought we would achieve at that time.”
Suriot said that at the start of the pandemic “everyone was talking about 120, 130 vaccines in development – we forgot that. But where are all those vaccines? That the drugmaker supplies one of the only prescriptions for poor countries.
We made a huge difference, Soriot said. Many people are very grateful. Would I have preferred to make a bigger difference? Definitely. But in the end, we did our best.
The outrage is coming from the European Union, which is set to receive 50 million doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine by the end of April, even as many European countries suspend use of the vaccine.
Denmark has stopped starting the program entirely, due to concerns about blood clots, while Germany has limited use at the age of 60.
Some contributors have been upset that Syriot has chosen to stay in Australia over the past several months, claiming that he might have handled the communications disaster better if he were closer to his colleagues in Europe.
In a video call that was broadcast to engage stakeholders, he admitted: “Obviously we have a lot more to do in terms of outreach and we need to make sure people know what we’re doing.”
Share Price: Astrazeneca shares rose 4.3% last night
But in a call with reporters, he ignored suggestions that his decision to stay in Australia had affected this.
He said, “ My life has spent about 80 percent on video over the past two years, because I run a global network and have a team based in Sweden, Cambridge, the US, China.
“We learned to work remotely, and more than that, which incidentally helps us reduce our carbon footprint, so working digitally is definitely something we’ll do more in the future.”
Suriot, a father of two, is expected to return to Britain this month.
Astrazeneca shares rose 4.3 percent overnight.