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.
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.
– Hanna Ziady contributed reporting.