21.09.2021 | Tracker

UK HCPs voice concern as cigarette company takes more control of UK inhaler market

By Mark Sullivan

UK HCPs voice concern as cigarette company takes more control of UK inhaler market

Each month, CREATION.co’s respiratory tracking update brings you the latest insights into the online UK healthcare professional (HCP) conversation regarding respiratory disease.

View the latest Respiratory Tracker and the archived trackers >

The conversation level of UK HCPs discussing respiratory disease on Twitter

This month between August and September, the activity of UK HCPs discussing respiratory disease online increased to over 3,500 mentions, an increase of 539 posts from the previous month. On the other hand, the average daily level of conversation for the previous 3 months (May to August) dropped below 100 posts for the first time in 2021. As has been the trend for 2021, non COVID-19 related conversation continued to make up the majority of the HCP mentions each day.


The latest respiratory disease insights from UK HCPs online

A developing story shared by HCPs throughout this month was the news that cigarette company Philip Morris International (PMI) – which has a market share of at least 12% of cigarettes sold globally – effectively succeeded in the £1.1bn takeover of asthma inhaler manufacturer Vectura. This led to the pharmaceutical company being excluded from the Formulation and Delivery UK conference (on 21 and 22 September) and the Drug Delivery to the Lungs conference (on 08, 09 and 10 December), which UK HCPs were quick to support.

Many HCPs were extremely vocal in their disagreement of PMI completing the takeover, none more so than Nick Hopkinson who posted about the topic 14 times this month. This included the Professor of Respiratory Medicine sharing an article he co-wrote with Toby Capstick which explained how adaptations to inhaled medication practice in COPD and asthma could avoid funding PMI. Of the other 105 posts regarding the topic, some HCPs made reference to the somewhat ironic nature of a tobacco company sealing a takeover of an inhaler company, as seen in this tweet

Interestingly, the most used hashtag of the month by UK HCPs in the respiratory space – #AskAboutAsthma – was a campaign that only started at the end of the month (20 September), showing the speed at which the campaign has taken off, with 169 posts using the hashtag. The aim of the campaign is to help improve and save the lives of those suffering from asthma – particularly young people and children, and was summarised well by nurse Sara Nelson

Finally, UK HCPs showed an interest in the latest COVID-19 developments, particularly Trisha Greenhalgh, who continued to lead discussion in this space with a tweet that linked an article written by US respiratory therapist Karen Gallardo. 49 UK HCPs retweeted the Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford’s original post – many on 04 September which had the highest volume of COVID-19 related posts this month – and an additional 19 posted about the article. The moving article highlighted the dangers of unvaccinated people suffering from severe COVID-19 and detailed the heartbreaking stages they experience.  

Each month, we track the HCP conversation relating to respiratory disease.

You can keep up to date with this and other pharmaceutical tracking updates, including COVID-19 developments, within the Tracking section of CREATION Knowledge, or sign up to receive our monthly eJournal with all of our latest HCP insights. 

If you would like to dig deeper into what we have seen this month then please do get in touch.


  • This article analysed the Twitter conversations of HCPs in the UK discussing respiratory disease and related terms between 21 August and 20 September 2021 using CREATION Pinpoint®.
  • Between 21 August and 20 September 2021, there were 3,508 UK HCP mentions of respiratory disease and related terms, from 1,567 unique UK HCP authors.

View the latest respiratory tracker and archived trackers

View all articles >

Meet the Author

Mark Sullivan

Mark uses his passion for data analysis to study the online conversations of HCPs and find actionable insights which are presented to teams in the pharmaceutical industry so they can make informed decisions.

Mark is an avid sports fan whether watching or playing. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends – but not as much when they tell him he needs a haircut.

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