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Medical chiefs blast the takeover of inhaler firm Vectura by Marlboro cigarette maker

Medical chiefs blast the takeover of inhaler firm Vectura by Marlboro cigarette maker

  • Medical organisation Tobacco Free Portfolios told shareholders that a takeover by Philip Morris International (PMI) would result in Vectura losing contracts
  • Medics also expressed dismay that PMI will end up profiting from treating the illnesses its product causes 
  • FTSE250 listed Vectura specialises in developing inhalers and inhaled medicines 

The campaign against Vectura’s sale to the maker of Marlboro cigarettes ratcheted up a notch as medical chiefs warned it could severely damage the future of the business. 

In a sharply worded letter, medical organisation Tobacco Free Portfolios told shareholders in the inhaler firm that a takeover by Philip Morris International (PMI) would result in it losing contracts and customers due to reputational damage. 

Medics who signed the letter – including Dr Andrew Goddard, president at the Royal College of Physicians, and Christina Marriott, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health – also expressed dismay that PMI will end up profiting from treating the illnesses its product causes, something that they describe as morally reprehensible. 

The campaign against Vectura’s sale to the maker of Marlboro cigarettes ratcheted up a notch as medical chiefs warned it could severely damage the future of the business.

FTSE250 listed Vectura specialises in developing inhalers and inhaled medicines and is also working on a Covid treatment. 

‘Tobacco companies should not profit from treating the illnesses their products cause,’ the letter said. In 2016, PMI promised to move its customers away from cigarettes, a strategy it calls ‘beyond nicotine’. 

Advisors scoop £34m 

The takeover of Vectura by Philip Morris will be a money-spinner for City advisors who will pocket £34m from the deal. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is in line for £7m for its financial advice to PMI, while JPMorgan, Rothschild and Numis will share £14m for advising Vectura. Lawyers also do well with DLA Piper providing legal expertise to both sides. Magic Circle law firm Clifford Chance is representing Vectura. Financial PRs are also in line for a payday with FTI Consulting earning £350,000 for advising Vectura. 

But the medics rubbished the strategy, labelling it as ‘disingenuous’. ‘PMI continues to manufacture more than 2bn cigarettes per day,’ the letter said. 

‘The notion that PMI is transitioning towards becoming a self-care wellness company is a concept utterly rejected by the global health community and just this month PMI bid for a new cigarette factory license in Egypt.’ 

Vectura’s board accepted the £1.02bn offer last week and Philip Morris has until September 15 to gain 50pc shareholder approval. Top shareholders include Blackrock, Columbia Threadneedle, AXA Investment Managers and Legal & General.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk