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HomeATS CommunityPresident's Message ▶ President’s Message: ATS Condemns the Acquisition of Vectura Group by Phillip Morris, International
President’s Message: ATS Condemns the Acquisition of Vectura Group by Phillip Morris, International

Earlier this month, the ATS and the American Lung Association (ALA) came together to condemn the acquisition of the drug developer, Vectura Group by Phillip Morris International.  The merger of Vectura, a company with inhalation device technology, and Phillip Morris, a company that sells tobacco, raises the very real specter thatlynn schnapp Phillip Morris may use the inhalation technology developed by Vectura to make their products even more addictive.  This raises the unconscionable scenario in which patients who developed lung diseases from smoking may now need to purchase therapies from the very company whose products made them ill in the first place. It’s reprehensible.

ATS prohibits tobacco companies and those who have received funding from tobacco companies from involvement with the ATS in a number of ways, from publishing in ATS journals, to presenting at our international conference. We believe it’s critical that a separation be maintained between tobacco companies and respiratory health groups. These polices, based on the extensive evidence of misconduct over many years by the tobacco industry, reflect the total lack of confidence we have in any claims from the tobacco industry of efforts to improve health.  ATS is working with our colleagues overseas to pressure the British government to prevent the sale from taking place, citing the obvious conflict of interest between a health care company with inhalation device technology and a company that sells tobacco products.

This is just one example of the advocacy efforts of ATS.  We believe that it is our mandate to use our expertise to take a stand on issues that impact the health of our patients, whether it is issuing  a statement after the death of George Floyd, speaking out about tear gas usage, or responding to the Trump Administration’s Executive Order Mandating How to Address Race and Diversity

By working together through the Society, we’re able to amplify our individual voices to impact the issues that affect our patients and our communities.  While policy change can be slow, our ongoing involvement helps shape the conversation. For example, in a victory just a few days ago, U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D – MA) introduced legislation in Congress to accelerate air pollution monitoring technology at the local level, supported in part by ATS experts in this area.  We will continue to provide feedback and testimony as needed throughout the legislative process.

To stay up-to-date on our Phillip Morris/Vectura work, and all our advocacy efforts, subscribe to our weekly Washington Letter.