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GSK returns to growth despite US sales hit

Published on 28/10/09 at 03:48pm

GlaxoSmithKline suffered a hit in the US during the third quarter of the year, with sales down 12% to £2.14 billion.

The manufacturer said this was "primarily due to continued adverse impact of generic competition".

Despite its US problems, GSK's turnover worldwide was up 3% to £6.76 billion - although operating profit fell 3% to £2.22 billion.

Chief executive Andrew Witty insisted that the momentum was now with his business.

"We've always said that 2009 would be a year of two halves," he added. "And in this quarter we've returned to sales growth."

Among the bright spots were sales of Relenza, the company's flu drug, which were up to £182 million worldwide as governments scrabble to add to their stockpiles.

But the company's HIV franchise fell 7% to £392m while sales of diabetes drug Avandia were down 19% to £108m.

In the US, migraine treatment Imigran (down 74% to £53m), Parkinson's disease drug Requip (down 30% to £43m) and epilepsy brand Lamictal (down 21% to £121m) were the main disappointments.

However, overall pharma sales rose 2% to £5.59bn, with Europe (up 3%), Japan (19%) and emerging markets (25%) all growing.

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drug Seretide/Advair was up 5% to £1.2bn in the quarter.

Urinary treatment Avodart was up 14% to £131m, Lovaza - used in patients with very high levels of triglycerides - rose 27% to £111m while breast cancer drug Tykerb was up 54% to £46m.

Vaccines sales

The company said it had made significant progress in its drive to expand its vaccines portfolio in the quarter, gaining European approval for its swine flu vaccine Pandemrix and, after significant delays, US approval for its cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix.

Nevertheless, vaccine sales dipped 2% year-on-year to £802m, with hepatitis vaccines (down 12%) and Infanrix/Pediarix (dropping 10%) struck particularly hard.

The company's older flu vaccine, Fluarix/Flulaval, declined 14% to £147 million primarily as a result of lower US sales, GSK says.

Cervarix sales, which stood at £28 million for the three months to September, were hit by "the timing of tender shipments in Europe", the company adds.

However, sales of Rotarix (£84 million) and Boostrix (£39 million) were up 92% and 55% respectively.

Sales in the manufacturer's consumer healthcare segment were up 8%.


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