RPS signs letter opposing Vectura takeover news

RPS President Claire Anderson has signed a letter written to Jo Churchill, Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation to express deep concerns about the takeover of Vectura.

Tobacco company Philip Morris International has today acquired Vectura, a UK company which makes products used in the treatment of asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases.

RPS previously wrote to Lord Bethell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Innovation, to oppose the takeover and express ethical concerns.

Now, the healthcare community believes that the announced takeover will legitimise tobacco industry participation within health debates and provide a greater platform from which to deploy similar tactics in support of tobacco industry interests.

The letter also references the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, of which article 5.3 explicitly aims to reduce industry influence in public health policymaking.

The signatories request that the Public Health Minster works with DHSC to support and oversee a cross-governmental approach to the continuing enforcement of FCTC Article 5.3, issuing clear department specific guidance to all departments and associated bodies now likely to interact with Vectura.

RPS President Claire Anderson said: “We are deeply concerned about today’s takeover of Vectura by Philip Morris International.

“This takeover not only creates an ethical dilemma for healthcare professionals but poses a threat of the tobacco industry participating in health debates and benefitting from this involvement. 

“Therefore, we have signed the letter urging the Government to enforce FCTC Article 5.3, and to make any guidance given to departments dealing with Vectura public.”

Read the full letter here.