The American Lung Association condemned the recently announced acquisition of Vectura by cigarette maker Philip Morris (NYSE:PM).
In response to the acquisition, American Lung Association president & CEO Harold Wimmer and American Thoracic Society president Dr. Lynn Schnapp released a joint statement calling the purchase “the latest reprehensible choice from a company that has profited from addicting users to its deadly products.”
United Kingdom-based Vectura’s drug delivery solutions under development include 13 key inhaled and 11 non-inhaled products marketed by global pharmaceutical partners. The company also has a diverse portfolio of partnerships for drugs in clinical development and brought in net revenues of $245 million in 2020.
Philip Morris – a multinational cigarette and tobacco product manufacturer — claimed that Vectura’s pipeline can help it reach its goal of generating more than 50% of its total net revenue from smoke-free products by 2025, with the intent to generate at least $1 billion in net revenues by that point from its “Beyond Nicotine” products.
“We are deeply concerned that PMI will use the inhalation services technologies developed by Vectura to make their tobacco products more addictive,” Wimmer and Schnapp’s statement said. “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.”
The statement also noted that the acquisition creates a “complex entanglement of conflicts of interest” across the respiratory medicine supply chain, claiming a chance of undermining public confidence in essential medical products. Wimmer and Schnapp believe the 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,” the statement concluded. “We urge the shareholders of Vectura to reject the proposed sale. Failing shareholder action, we urge the British government to use its oversight authority to intervene and stop the sale.”