Profits slide at GSK as pandemic disrupts vaccinations rates

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has revealed that profits slipped over the past three months but said it remains on track to hit its full-year targets.

The pharmaceuticals giant said that profit attributable to shareholders fell by 17% to £1.2 billion over the quarter.

Meanwhile, it reported that its turnover dropped by 8% to £8.6 billion for the period as it was impacted by lower vaccinations.

The company said vaccination rates improved over the quarter but were still down year-on-year, particularly impacting its major shingles vaccine.

Sales of the Shingrix shingles vaccine, which was its biggest driver of growth last year, tumbled by 30% to £374 million for the period.

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Emma Walmsley, chief executive officer at GlaxoSmithKline (GlaxoSmithKline/PA)

Emma Walmsley, chief executive officer of GSK, said: “GSK has responded well to a challenging operating environment this year with disciplined cost control and strong commercial momentum in key growth products including Nucala, Trelegy, Benlysta, two drug-HIV regimens, Zejula, Shingrix and our priority consumer healthcare brands.

“This, combined with improving vaccination rates this quarter, means we are on track to deliver within our earnings guidance range for 2020.

“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.”

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

Earlier on Wednesday, GSK said it is working with French firm Sanofi to supply 200 million doses of their Covid-19 candidate vaccine to a global inoculation scheme backed by the World Health Organisation.

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