Philip Morris International takes control of asthma inhaler manufacturer Vectura

Cigarette producer Marlboro and Parliament said in a statement Thursday that it had obtained nearly 75% of the shares in Vectura, making it the majority shareholder. Over 45% of Vectura’s shareholders accepted the takeover bid and Philip Morris International bought 29% of the company’s shares on the open market.

“We have taken an important step in our acquisition of Vectura”, Jacek Olczak, CEO of Philip Morris International (PM), said in a statement. “We are very excited about the essential role Vectura will play in our Beyond Nicotine strategy.”
The buyout bolsters the tobacco company’s efforts to generate more than half of its net sales from smokeless products such as e-cigarettes and respiratory medications within four years, up from around a quarter today. hui. PMI currently sells cigarettes in over 175 markets.
Vectura has manufactured 13 inhaled drugs for companies such as Novartis (NVS) and GlaxoSmithKline (GLAXF) to treat lung conditions, including asthma.

Critics have said they will continue to fight the £ 1bn ($ 1.4bn) takeover. On Thursday, 35 charities, public health experts and clinicians sent a letter to UK Health Minister Jo Churchill asking the government to intervene.

“We believe that it is clear that this agreement is not in the public interest and that it creates perverse incentives for [Philip Morris International] increase the harms of smoking so that they can then benefit again from the treatment of smoking-related illnesses, ”wrote signatories including the British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

Kjeld Hansen, president of the European Lung Foundation, said he was “very disappointed” to see the agreement finalized.

“The prospect of someone potentially profiting from the sale of a product that damages the lungs and one that treats the lung disease it causes is more than worrying. For a person living with lung disease, the sale is devastating, “Hansen said in a statement.

Philip Morris International has been separated from Altria (MO) in 2008. Altria owns Philip Morris USA, which sells brands of cigarettes such as Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Parliament and Merit in the United States.

– Hanna Ziady contributed reporting.

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