GSK sales jump as swine flu fever boosts demand

DRUGS giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)?yesterday reported a three per cent growth in group sales due to a boost in demand for its swine flu vaccine and a surge in sales from emerging markets.<br /><br />GSK&nbsp; yesterday posted pre-tax profits of &pound;1.9bn for the three months ending 30 September from &pound;1.2bn the year before. <br /><br />The group yesterday said that sales of its flu drug Relenza had doubled to &pound;182m and reported that its approved swine vaccine, Pandemrix,&nbsp; had received government orders for 440m doses.<br /><br />Analysts predict GSK will pocket a&nbsp; &pound;1bn boost from swine flu in the fourth quarter.<br /><br />But chief executive Andrew Witty yesterday shrugged off concerns that the boost will tail-off next year and pointed to a 25 per cent boost in sales in emerging markets. <br /><br />Strong demand from this market has led to a restructuring programme at GSK where emerging market sales staff levels have been increased and UK and US sales force staff levels have been cut. Sales in the US dropped by 74 per cent to &pound;473m.<br /><br />Witty added that an eight per cent growth in the consumer business has been driven by sales of Alli, the weight-loss drug and &ldquo;a series of innovations in the toothpaste business&rdquo;.