GSK turnover passes £25bn in 2020 despite lower third-quarter sales

GlaxoSmithKline’s revenues fell modestly after the pharmaceutical giant was hit by lower sales of HIV medicine and a popular shingles vaccine.

Overall revenues fell 8 per cent to £8.65billion, and net cash dived two-thirds to £861million as turnover in all three of its major divisions: pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare declined in the three months to the end of September.

Vaccines saw the largest drop of 12 per cent to £2.03billion, with the group blaming the coronavirus for severely impacting sales of shingles drug Shingrix, which plummeted 30 per cent to £374million.

GlaxoSmithKline’s total sales in the first nine months of 2020 reached over £25billion

It said the delay and decline in face-to-face tuition hurt the level of back-to-school vaccinations in the United States while some countries saw fewer visits to medical workers and points of immunisation.

Total sales still remain higher in the first nine months of 2020 at over £25billion though as does its post-tax profits of £5.55billion.

Larger trade in its lung disease drug Trelegy and asthma treatment Nucala helped respiratory sales jump in the quarter by 21 per cent while oncology grew 55 per cent on the back of added sales of ovarian cancer drug Zejula.

Pain relief medication such as Panadol and Voltaren grew solidly, with the former receiving a boost from the Covid-19 pandemic and the latter enduring a successful over-the-counter launch in the United States.

The FTSE 100 firm also said sales of vitamins, minerals and supplements did very well as consumers continued to attach more focus to health and wellness, with a ‘strong performance’ from Centrum and drink mix supplement Emergen-C.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) chief executive Emma Walmsley said the London-based business ‘has responded well to a challenging operating environment this year with disciplined cost control and strong commercial momentum in key growth products.’

GSK also announced today that it would give 200 million doses of a Covid-19 candidate vaccine it co-created with French drugs maker Sanofi to the COVAX initiative

‘In addition, we continue to make good progress on our preparations to separate the Group and create two new companies – in Biopharma and Consumer Health – which we believe will deliver options for sustainable growth and returns to shareholders.’

Profits in 2020 are expected to be at the lower end of its previous forecast of a drop of between 1 per cent and 4 per cent, which did not include any potential impact from the coronavirus crisis.

Walmsley added that the drug maker is ‘urgently advancing possible Covid-19 solutions’ with partners, including pushing forward with clinical trials.

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