­­Glaxo enjoys a return to growth

Kasmira Jefford
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DRUGMAKER GlaxoSmithKline said sales returned to growth in the third quarter as the pharmaceutical giant looked to put patent expiries and a collapse in revenue from troubled diabetes pill Avandia behind it.

The firm said sales in the quarter increased four per cent from the same period a year ago at £7.1bn – slightly ahead of market expectations.

GSK is recovering from a slump in revenues after a ban on its Avandia diabetes drug last year on fears that it increased the risk of heart attack and strokes, as well as the loss of patent cover on herpes drug Valtrex.

“The environment for pharmaceutical and consumer products remains challenging. The impact of healthcare reform in the US and price cuts in Europe this year is in line with our expectations and we continue to expect a full year impact of around £325m,” said chief executive Andrew Witty.

The group also hiked its shareholder dividend by six per cent to 17p, and also increased its expectations for share buybacks this year to up to £2.3bn, from £2bn previously.