HomeWashington Letter2021 ▶ TOBACCO CONTROL

ATS Sends Letter Urging UK Government to Review Big Tobacco Giant PMI Takeover of Vectura

This week, the ATS joined the American Lung Association and over 15 other patient and medical organizations in a letter to leaders in the British Parliament, urging them to closely review Big Tobacco company Philip Morris International’s (PMI) bid to acquire a controlling interest in the pharmaceutical company Vectura. Vectura is a UK-based company that makes component parts for metered dose-inhaler and dry powder inhalers used by many pharmaceutical companies that make respiratory prescription drugs. PMI is on the verge of completing its bid to buy a controlling share of Vectura stock.

If the sale proceeds, PMI will be in a position to profit from making people ill with tobacco-related diseases and profit from selling drugs used to treat those diseases. The ATS and peer societies feel strongly that this is a blatant conflict of interest that should be avoided. Further, as noted in the letter, PMI may claim they are acquiring Vectura to diversify their business beyond tobacco, but the result of buying Vectura will provide PMI with the inhalation technical expertise and supply chain to develop a new generation of nicotine products to continue their profitable business of nicotine addiction.

Allowing PMI to purchase Vectura would also put other reputable pharmaceutical companies in the awkward position of choosing to do business with a tobacco-owned company that makes essential inhalation drug components or establish a whole new supply chain for the key components that Vectura currently provides. Creating a new supply chain will cost pharmaceutical companies time, effort, and valuable resources without any benefit to patients.

The ATS will continue to raise awareness of the PMI acquisition and urge responsible parties to intervene, if possible, to prevent the sale.

Last Reviewed: August 2021