HomeWashington Letter2021 ▶ TOBACCO CONTROL

ATS Opposes Big Tobacco Purchase of Respiratory Inhaler Company

This week, the American Thoracic Society joined the American Lung Association in issuing a statement opposing international tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris International’s bid to acquire Vectura – a British-based company that makes key components for metered dose inhalers and dry powdered inhalers. ATS President Lynn Schnapp MD, ATSF and ALA President Harold Wimmer released the following statement:

"The announcement that Philip Morris International (PMI) wants to acquire an inhaled medicine company is the latest reprehensible choice from a company that has profited from addicting users to its deadly products.

“We are deeply concerned that PMI will use the inhalation services technologies developed by Vectura to make their tobacco products more addictive. We are also deeply troubled that this company could further profit from the disease their products have caused by now selling therapies to the same people who were sickened by smoking PMI cigarettes. We also note, the proposed acquisition of Vectura by PMI creates a complex entanglement of conflicts of interest throughout the respiratory medicine supply chain that could undermine public confidence in essential medical products.  It is clear this acquisition is not in the best interest of the public and lung disease patients, or even the medical drug and device industry.

“The American Lung Association and American Thoracic Society are disappointed that the board of Vectura, a maker of essential medical products, has approved this sale. We urge the shareholders of Vectura to reject the proposed sale. Failing share holder action, we urge the British government to use its oversight authority to intervene and stop the sale.”

The ATS is working with our British colleagues to convey our shared concerns with key government leaders in England.

Last Reviewed: July 2021