Tobacco Firm Which Makes Marlboro Cigarettes Wins Control Of Inhaler Company
One of the world’s largest tobacco companies has been approved to takeover asthma inhaler manufacturer Vectura, causing outrage among health campaigners.
Philip Morris International (PMI), which owns Marlboro cigarettes, claims to be working towards a ‘smoke-free’ future, despite still generating more than three quarters of its revenue from tobacco products.
However, in an ironic turn of events the company will now also control a leading company working to treat respiratory diseases, after convincing shareholders to sell stock worth around 75% of the company’s value.
In face of criticism over the apparent conflict of interest, the company argued the move was part of its efforts to diversify its business interests away from tobacco as part of its ‘Beyond Nicotine’ strategy.
PMI CEO Jacek Olczak said:
We are very excited about the critical role Vectura will play in our Beyond Nicotine strategy and look forward to working with Vectura’s scientists and providing them with the resources and expertise to grow their business to help us achieve our goal of generating at least $1bn in net revenues from Beyond Nicotine products by 2025.
However the company’s involvement has been condemned by leading charities including Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, whose chief executive accused Vectura of having ‘sold out millions of people with lung disease’ in favour of ‘short-term financial gain’.
Sarah Woolnaugh expressed concern that the deal ‘creates perverse incentives for PMI to sell more of its harmful products so they might then profit again through treating smoking-related diseases’, The Guardian reports. ‘There’s now a very real risk that Vectura’s deal with big tobacco will lead to the cigarette industry wielding undue influence on UK health policy,’ she added.
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