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Pfizer Sues Romania Over Rejected 28 Million Vaccine Doses Worth €550 million

Pfizer has filed a lawsuit against Romania following similar legal action against Hungary, demanding payment for 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that were not purchased by the Romanian government.
According to Romanian government spokesperson Mihai Constantin, the pharmaceutical giant initiated the legal proceedings in Brussels in December, in an effort to collect specific sums of money tied to the vaccines. Constantin confirmed the information in response to journalists' inquiries on a Thursday.

"The first hearing is scheduled for the end of February. Romania will certainly be represented in the matter. The issue at hand is that Romania conducted an assessment of how much vaccine it would need during the pandemic, but the amendment referred to by the pharmaceutical company was not signed by the Bucharest Ministry of Health, so payment was impossible as the Romanian state did not take delivery of these vaccines," explained Mihai Constantin.

He also mentioned that, to his knowledge, other Central and Eastern European countries, including Poland and Hungary, have found themselves in a similar predicament.

In response to queries by Romanian news portal News.ro, Andrew Widger, Pfizer's Director of Global Media Relations, stated that Pfizer and BioNTech made a "difficult decision" to initiate administrative proceedings against Romania to fulfill obligations undertaken by the government for the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, as part of a delivery contract signed with the European Union in May 2021.

According to News.ro's calculations, the lawsuit pertains to vaccines worth €550 million that were rejected. The publication recalled that in Romania, the anti-corruption prosecutors’ office (DNA) has launched criminal proceedings against liberal senator and former Prime Minister Florin Citu, along with two former ministers of his government, accusing them of official abuse in the procurement of coronavirus vaccines managed through the European Union.

The prosecutors allege that the Romanian government, headed by Florin Citu in May 2021, ordered 52.8 million unnecessary Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, inflicting more than one billion euros in damages to the Romanian budget. This move was made despite Romania previously indicating that it had 10.7 million people eligible for vaccination and that the 37 million doses contracted earlier would have been sufficient to immunize 23 million people, assuming two-thirds sought a third booster shot.

As reported in December, Pfizer had sued Hungary, with court documents revealing that the company offered weekly installment payments to the Hungarian government for vaccines that have now reached a Belgian court. According to the vaccine manufacturer, the Hungarian government owes a debt of 21.5 billion forints for vaccines that it had urgently requested two years prior. The case, however, is more complex, and Hungary is not the only country feeling obligated to pay billions unnecessarily.
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