COVID-19 Advance Purchase Agreements (vaccine deal contracts)

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Secretariat General of the European Commission should normally have responded promptly and by (details)

Dear Secretariat General,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

- all contracts with AstraZeneca and other pharmaceutical companies about the purchase of potential vaccines against COVID-19 (Advance Purchase Agreements, APAs).

There is a clear public interest in disclosure of these contracts. The transparency rules as set out in the Lisbon Treaty oblige the EU institutions to work as openly and as closely as possible to citizens. There is clearly a lot at stake for EU citizens in the vaccine deal negotiations. Citizens have the right to know about these negotiations that are happening on their behalf, involving billions of euros of public money to be spent for the development of vaccines.

Secrecy around the negotiations about the vaccines, moreover, may undermine public confidence in the EU, but also in the vaccines themselves.

Blanket confidentiality cannot be the rule for the covid19 contracts. Price and other sorts of confidentiality covering commercial aspects of these contracts cannot preclude transparency around liability and other provisions with clear implications for patient safety and the protection of public health.

The currently negotiated contracts for potential covid19 vaccines differ from usual medicines procurement deals. Considerable amounts of public money and public guarantees are invested into the R&D and manufacturing process through the signature of advance purchase agreements between the European Commission and individual pharma companies. APAs essentially constitute insurance policies paid for by taxpayers' money which amongst other guarantee losses sustained by pharma developers. Governments commit in advance to shouldering the cost of certain liabilities sustained by pharma companies throughout the R&D process; by doing so they de-risk it and become co-developers. This makes the need for transparency and public accountability even stronger.

Yours sincerely,

Olivier Hoedeman
on behalf of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
Rue d'Edimbourg 26,
1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel. +32 (0)2 893 0930

Secretariat General of the European Commission

Your message has been received by the Transparency Unit of the
Secretariat-General of the European Commission.
Requests for public access to documents are treated on the basis of
[1]Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
The Secretariat-General will reply to your request within 15 working days
upon registration of your request and will duly inform you of the
registration of the request (or of any additional information to be
provided in view of its registration and/or treatment).
L’unité «Transparence» du secrétariat général de la Commission européenne
a bien reçu votre message.
Les demandes d’accès du public aux documents sont traitées sur la base du
[2]règlement (CE) n° 1049/2001 du 30 mai 2001 relatif à l’accès du public
aux documents du Parlement européen, du Conseil et de la Commission.
Le secrétariat général répondra à votre demande dans un délai de 15 jours
ouvrables à compter de la date d’enregistrement de votre demande, et vous
informera de cet enregistrement (ou vous indiquera toute information
supplémentaire à fournir en vue de l'enregistrement et/ou du traitement de
votre demande).
Ihre Nachricht ist beim Referat „Transparenz“ des Generalsekretariats der
Europäischen Kommission eingegangen.
Anträge auf Zugang zu Dokumenten werden auf der Grundlage der
[3]Verordnung (EG) Nr. 1049/2001 vom 30. Mai 2001 über den Zugang der
Öffentlichkeit zu Dokumenten des Europäischen Parlaments, des Rates und
der Kommission behandelt.
Das Generalsekretariat beantwortet Ihre Anfrage innerhalb von
15 Arbeitstagen nach deren Registrierung und wird Sie über die
Registrierung Ihres Antrags (oder die Notwendigkeit weiterer Informationen
im Hinblick auf dessen Registrierung und/oder Bearbeitung) unterrichten.


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ve_sg.accessdoc (SG), Secretariat General of the European Commission

[1]Ares(2020)4819251 - RE: access to documents request - COVID-19 Advance
Purchase Agreements (vaccine deal contracts) --- Ref. Gestdem 2020/5437

Sent by ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. All responses have
to be sent to this email address.
Envoyé par ve_sg.accessdoc (SG) <[SG request email]>. Toutes les
réponses doivent être effectuées à cette adresse électronique.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail of 15/09/2020. We hereby acknowledge receipt of
your application for access to documents, which was registered on
15/09/2020 under reference number GESTDEM 2020/5437.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application
will be handled within 15 working days.

The time limit will expire on 06/10/2020. In case this time limit needs to
be extended, you will be informed in due course.

You have lodged your application via a private third-party website, which
has no link with any institution of the European Union.
Therefore, the European Commission cannot be held accountable for any
technical issues or problems linked to the use of this system.

Please note that the private third party running the website
is responsible and accountable for the processing of your personal data
via that website, and not the Commission.
For further information on your rights, please refer to the third party’s
privacy policy.

We understand that the third party running the website
usually publishes the content of applicants’ correspondence with the
Commission on that website. This includes the personal data that you may
have communicated to the Commission (e.g. your private postal address).

Similarly, the third party publishes on that website any reply that the
Commission will send to the email address of the applicants generated by
the website.

If you do not wish that your correspondence with the Commission is
published on a private third-party website such as, you can
provide us with an alternative, private e-mail address for further
correspondence. In that case, the Commission will send all future
electronic correspondence addressed to you only to that private address,
and it will use only that private address to reply to your request. You
should still remain responsible to inform the private third-party website
about this change of how you wish to communicate with, and receive a reply
from, the Commission.

For information on how we process your personal data visit our page
Privacy statement – access to documents.

Yours faithfully,
Access to Documents Team (rc

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Secretariat General of the European Commission

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We refer to your requests both dated 15 September 2020 in which you make a
request for access to documents, both registered on the same date under
the above mentioned reference numbers.


Your applications are currently being handled. However, we will not be in
a position to complete the handling of your applications within the time
limit of 15 working days, which expires on 06 October 2020.


An extended time limit is needed due to internal consultations and a
thorough analysis of your request.


Therefore, we have to extend the time limit with 15 working days in
accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding
public access to documents. The new time limit expires on 27 October 2020.


We apologise for this delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.


Yours faithfully,



European Commission
Health and Food Safety




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