Philip Morris International (PMI), a wildly successful tobacco product manufacturer, has acquired inhaled therapeutics company OtiTopic. OtiTopic develops an inhaler-based therapeutic for treating heart attacks quickly. Essentially, the company aerosolizes salicylic acid (aspirin) in order to get it into the bloodstream faster, which can reduce the physical damage of a heart attack and reduce the risk of another serious event, such as a stroke. As a result of this acquisition and a slate of other reported similar acquisitions in the works, health charities and politicians are up in arms to prevent a tobacco company from pivoting into health. On the surface, it makes sense – why should a company profit from a healthcare product when it has been doing the exact opposite of providing healthcare for nearly two centuries?
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