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Tobacco industry ownership of pharmaceutical companies: an international survey of people with respiratory disease
  1. Ruth Tal-Singer1,2,
  2. Linda Walsh1,
  3. Tim Deuby1,
  4. Angela Shaughnessy1,
  5. Karin F Hoth3,
  6. Victor Gascon2,
  7. Susanne Hintringer2,
  8. Nicole Hass2,4,
  9. Tonya Winders2,
  10. Lucy Morgan5,
  11. Byron Thomashow1,
  12. David M Mannino1
  1. 1 COPD Foundation, Miami, Florida, USA
  2. 2 Global Allergy and Airways Patient Platform (GAAPP), Vienna, Austria
  3. 3 Department of Psychiatry, university of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
  4. 4 Spanish COPD Association, Asturia, Spain
  5. 5 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ruth Tal-Singer, COPD Foundation, Miami, FL 33134, USA; rtalsinger{at}


The 2021 purchase of the respiratory pharmaceutical company Vectura by Phillip Morris International has been criticised by the public health and medical community, as a conflict of interest, with little input to date, from the patient community or the public. To address this gap, the COPD Foundation, along with global partners, surveyed 1196 people with chronic respiratory disease. 70% were bothered by a tobacco company making an inhaler to treat lung conditions and 48% reported that they would want to switch inhalers if they knew that a tobacco company made or sold their inhaler devices. Patients care about who makes the therapies used to treat their diseases.

  • Asthma
  • COPD epidemiology
  • Tobacco and the lung
  • Tobacco control
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Inhaler devices

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  • Twitter @rtalsinger1, @MachinaVictor

  • Contributors RT-S, TD, LW, DMM, KFH, BT and AS designed the survey. VG and SH translated the survey and TW, NH and LM supported dissemination within patient community networks. RT-S, TD and AS analysed the survey. DMM and RT-S drafted the manuscripts and all authors reviewed and commented on the final version. Survey was funded by the COPD foundation.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests RT-S is a retiree and shareholder of GlaxoSmithKline. She is a non-executive board member of ENA Respiratory and reports holding share options. She also reports personal fees from Vocalis Health, ENA Respiratory, Teva, and Immunomet. TW is President & CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network in the USA. She serves as President of GAAPP. Both AAN and GAAPP receive funding for unbranded disease awareness, education and advocacy from Aimmune, ALK, Amgen, AZ, DBV, GSK, Novartis, Sanofi/Regeneron, Viatris, TEVA. TW personally reports speaker & advisor fees from Aimmune, ALK, Amgen, AZ, DBV, Novartis and Sanofi/Regeneron. BT reports consultancy to GlaxosmithKline and participation at an advisory board for Boehringer Ingelheim. DMM is a former employee and current shareholder of GlaxoSmithKline and receives royalties from Up to Date. He is also a consultant to GlaxoSmithKline, Medical Director of the COPD Foundation, and an expert witness for people suing the Tobacco Industry. LW, TD, AS, KFH, VG, SH, NH and LM report no conflicts.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.