Phillip Morris Health Care? 🚬
This week, JUUL finally found a settlement in its years long litigation over advertising its products to teens. JUUL may be a flashy distraction in the tobacco market, but Philip Morris is still the tobacco OG despite slowly decreasing tobacco sales. In July of this year, the FDA director of the center of Tobacco Products resigned to join Philip Morris Industries. While these flips are normal for the FDA and pharma positions, such a blatant about-face in tobacco that even the most talented marketers can’t spin, came as a surprise to insiders.
This flip signified a “next-level move” that shows how entrenched FDA officials are with the corporations they’re supposed to regulate. With new tobacco legislation coming down the pipeline, restrictions on vaping and other tobacco products, Phillip Morris is making moves to expand into healthcare. The logic is that they already have technology and production methods to make drugs inhalable. Following this logic, Phillip Morris is eyeing an industry expansion into inhalable medications and has made several key acquisitions to make that happen in the foreseeable future.
According to Stat News, Last summer, PMI executive Deepak Mishra, who previously worked as a partner at McKinsey — the consultancy that gained notoriety for its role advising Purdue Pharma during the opioid crisis — was appointed head of Philip Morris’ Americas region, with the assignment of creating more partnerships as part of the company’s “Beyond Nicotine” strategy.” In short, the Beyond Nicotine campaign is to profit off of the treatment of lung cancer patients, about a quarter of which are directly attributed to cigarette smoking. In the words of one critic, “They (PMI) are producing the poison and selling you the cure later on which is heartbreaking”.
Stat News also reports that, “transitioning to a health care focus can also help burnish PMI’s reputation… A longstanding plan of tobacco companies is to rebrand. When they talk about investing in a smoke-free world, it’s a strategic marketing ploy. They’re not talking about people quitting tobacco products but changing from combustible products to other products. They’re trying to do it under the guise of a public health message, but they have no standing for that.”