Brexit LIVE: EUs Covid shambles forces AstraZeneca into reconsidering vaccine future

Nigel Farage mocks Remainers over Brexit fears

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The UK completed its departure from the European Union at the end of last year, freeing itself from the shackles of EU rules and regulations that had tied it down as a member state for nearly 50 years. Since Brexit, the speed of Britain’s vaccine rollout has received worldwide praise, with tens of millions of the population already receiving both jabs. The EU’s own vaccination rollout has stumbled from one disaster to the next, with the bloc engulfed in rows with vaccine maker AstraZeneca over production and supply issues that have seen member states vent their fury.

This ultimately led to a bitter lawsuit from Brussels after it struggled to meet pledges over vaccine delivered, with the EU later dealt a bitter blow after a judge ruled the pharmaceutical giant did not need to speed up supply to the bloc.

Alistair Campbell, an analyst at Liberum, told The Telegraph: “The bottom line is AstraZeneca makes no money from this. Investors are frustrated that it’s a distraction of their own making.”

Consumer Goods and Pharma Correspondent Hannah Bolland claimed the bitter row with the EU has now led to AstraZeneca seriously considering its future in vaccines.

She wrote: “The damage caused by Europe’s assault on AstraZeneca is now becoming clear.

“The company’s decision to make its jab without taking a profit has squeezed margins.

“The company is now weighing up whether it wants a future in vaccines at all.”

Ruud Dobber, head of Astra’s biopharmaceuticals unit, appeared to also place a question mark over the company’s future in vaccines, telling Reuters the firm was “exploring different options” for its work in the field.

Adam Barker, of Shore Capital, said AstraZeneca pushing into on a longer-term basis is something that would be a “big decision”, adding that at present, the business is “one vaccine, it’s one project, I don’t think it’s something they can spin off”.

During an analyst call earlier this week, Mr Campbell said AstraZeneca seems to have little appetite to push further into vaccines, with the company insisting its primary focus at present is integrating Alexion as part of its £28billion takeover.

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