Intended for healthcare professionals


Proposed takeover of Vectura by Philip Morris International

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 07 September 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2186
  1. Sanjay Agrawal, consultant in respiratory and intensive care medicine
  1. University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  1. sanjay.agrawal{at}

Everyone except the tobacco industry stands to lose

In July 2021, Philip Morris International (PMI) tabled a bid worth over £1bn (€1.2bn; $1.4bn) to buy Vectura, a British pharmaceutical company that manufactures inhaled medicines, including inhalers for respiratory illnesses such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Vectura’s board unanimously recommended PMI’s offer to its shareholders, who have until mid-September to vote on the offer before a final decision is made. Pressure from health groups, charities, and academics worldwide has grown to dissuade shareholders from voting to support the takeover and for the UK government to intervene and block the proposed acquisition of Vectura.1

PMI, a company driven by commercial profit with revenues of £20bn in 2020, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers, distributors, and vendors of tobacco, selling over 600 billion cigarettes in 2020.2 Sales are highest …

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