Following the official takeover of Vectura Group plc by Philip Morris International (PMI), a collective of international respiratory societies have issued a statement to clarify their position on future interactions with the company.
The statement was issued by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies on behalf of The European Respiratory Society (ERS), The American Thoracic Society, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax, and the Global Initiative for Asthma.
The statement follows the delisting of the Vectura Group plc from the London Stock Exchange, which took place towards the end of 2021 – signifying that the company is now wholly owned by PMI.
Despite strong opposition and petitions from the wider respiratory community, including ERS and the European Lung Foundation, the UK government did not intervene in this acquisition, which has been labeled by many as unethical and against public interest.
Professor Marc Humbert, ERS President, notes: “Though our calls to stop this acquisition were unsuccessful, our position remains very clear; we feel this takeover is a dark time for respiratory medicine and this development represents an incredible blurring of the lines, whereby a company may now profit from the medicines used to treat the illnesses that its products cause.
“We feel we must now take a very strong position as we move forward to keep important boundaries in place. This joint statement with our global colleagues shows a unified response to this very disappointing development – clarifying how we will interact with Vectura from this point onwards.
“We must also continue to urge governments to not allow any future tactics of this kind, to protect public interest.”