Pfizer sued Poland for failing to fulfill its vaccine contract. The date of the preliminary hearing in this case has been postponed to January 30, 2024 – representatives of the Strelia law firm, representing the Polish side, announced on Friday. According to them, the subject of the dispute is the amount of PLN 5,644,290,747.
Iwona Kania, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, confirmed that the above law firm represents the Polish side in the Pfizer v. Poland dispute.
The dispute with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer concerns contracts obliging Poland to purchase further batches of vaccines against COVID-19. In the face of many months of oversupply of these preparations, as well as the burden on public finances as a consequence of Russian armed aggression on UkrainePoland decided to renegotiate agreements concluded at an earlier stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Representatives of the Strelia law firm: Joanna Kolber and Jean-Pierre Fierens recalled in a statement that on April 12, 2022, Poland, represented by the Ministry of Health, informed Pfizer Inc. and the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety that it would not accept the delivery of vaccines, and cited a number of legal arguments and factual circumstances to support its position.
“Despite discussions between the parties, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the Republic of Poland,” it was added. It was reported that the lawsuit was filed on September 21 this year.
Poland vs. Pfizer
“The case should be discussed on the basis of Belgian law and Belgian procedural law, which are the applicable law and the appropriate forum, and not from the perspective of Polish law and Polish civil procedure, as these systems differ significantly; both the applicable law and the competent court have been indicated in the contracts in question,” representatives of the Strelia law firm said in a statement.
The representatives said they were providing the information “due to reports appearing in the press.” “As representatives of the Republic of Poland, we will not discuss the legal arguments or the merits of the case, because it is a matter between the parties to be resolved by the Belgian court. However, we would like to refer to the following few details,” they said.
The representatives emphasized that the case concerns the parties’ obligations arising from contracts regarding the development and supply of vaccines against COVID-19. As stated, the participants include Pfizer Inc., Pfizer Export BV and BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH as the plaintiff and the Republic of Poland as the defendant.
As indicated in the announcement, the subject of the dispute is the amount of PLN 5,644,290,747 plus interest and court and legal representation costs (the latter limited to EUR 22,500), claimed from the Republic of Poland.
New hearing date
“Taking into account the provisions of Belgian procedural law, the lawsuit was served on the Republic of Poland for the purpose of appearing at a hearing on December 5, 2023 before the French-speaking court of first instance in Brussels. This hearing was the so-called preliminary hearing, which is a mandatory stage of Belgian judicial proceedings” – it was written.
The attorneys explained that “the date of such a preliminary hearing is chosen by the plaintiff taking into account the mandatory deadlines set out in the Belgian Judicial Code.” “A preliminary hearing is usually a hearing during which only preliminary procedural steps are taken, such as setting a schedule for the court proceedings or other steps, depending on the specific case,” the release added.
At the preliminary hearing on December 5 this year. – as stated – by mutual consent of the parties, the case was postponed to January 30, 2024. “This step is without prejudice to the rights of the Republic of Poland regarding the proceedings and the merits of the case,” the representatives assured.
He wrote about the lawsuit at the end of November this year. “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna”. “We cannot comment on ongoing legal proceedings,” Pfizer said in response to DGP’s questions about the lawsuit.
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