Philip Morris boss defends plans to buy British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group

Philip Morris boss defends tobacco giant’s plans to buy British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group

Philip Morris has signed a deal to buy Wiltshire-based Vectura Group, which specializes in respiratory medicines

Marlboro’s chief executive, Philip Morris International, has defended his plans to buy British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group.

The American giant signed a deal this month to buy the Wiltshire-based company – which specializes in respiratory medicines and develops a treatment for Covid – for 150 pence per share or £1 billion.

The proposed deal sparked outrage among politicians and anti-smoking charities who demanded that a partnership between major tobacco and a company specializing in inhaled drugs for conditions such as asthma be blocked.

But Philip Morris chief executive Jacek Olczak said the company was determined to change its image and eliminate cigarette use.

“We can either stand still and continue to sell cigarettes or we can do something with the science and technology to at least significantly reduce the harm caused by smoking,” he told CNBC.

“I believe what we’re doing is absolutely right.

“Nothing and no one will stop us in our transformations to leave smoking.”

Olczak, 56, added that critics of the Vectura deal “are against the transformation of the tobacco industry.”

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