The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has written to Lord Bethell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Innovation, expressing ethical concerns about the proposed takeover of Vectura.
Vectura, a UK company which makes products used in the treatment of asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases, could be acquired by the tobacco company Philip Morris International.
RPS said that tobacco companies should not profit from the illnesses their products cause. This takeover, if allowed to proceed, would send wrong signals for the kind of health and research community the UK seeks to promote.
RPS President Claire Anderson said: “We are deeply concerned about the proposed takeover of Vectura by Philip Morris International.
“This takeover not only raises ethical concerns that a company whose tobacco products harm the public may later profit from providing a treatment, but also creates an ethical dilemma for healthcare professionals.
“We strongly urge the government to oppose this takeover to protect the public and healthcare professionals.”
Earlier this week, Philip Morris emerged victorious in its £1.1 billion takeover bid for Vectura after a bidding war with US private equity firm Carlyle.
The cigarette maker tabled the winning bid of 165p per share, beating Carlyle’s previous offer of 155p.