Drugs giant GSK has posted better-than-forecast revenues for the first quarter thanks to strong sales of its shingles vaccine and HIV medicines.
The FTSE 100 group saw earnings fall 15 per cent on a constant currency basis to £2.1bn in the first quarter as revenues dropped eight per cent to £7bn after sales of its Covid-19 treatment Xevudy fell back from strong sales seen a year earlier.
But despite this, its revenues beat expectations thanks to a 11 per cent leap in sales of its Shingrix jab for shingles, to £833m over the first three months of 2023.
Its HIV vaccines and treatments also gave the group a boost, with sales up 15 per cent thanks to strong demand for its oral two-drug regimen and long-acting drugs, as well as price increases in the US.
GSK stuck by its guidance for full year underlying earnings to rise by between 10 per cent to 12 per cent on sales between six per cent and eight per cent higher.
But it said earnings will be lower in the first half due to expected drug launches pushing up costs, with second half operating profits set to be higher.
GSK, which spun off its consumer healthcare business, named Haleon, last year, said that with Covid-19 sales stripped out, turnover lifted 10 per cent to £6.8bn.
Emma Walmsley, chief executive of GSK, said: “We have made a strong start to 2023, with excellent performance across vaccines, specialty and general medicines.
“We are very focused on our upcoming launches, including our potential RSV older adult vaccine, and on continuing to strengthen our pipeline.”
It is racing against rivals to launch an inoculation for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes 8,000 deaths in the UK alone each year.
GSK hopes to launch its RSV jab later this year.
The latest figures come as hundreds of workers at GSK are set to stage a series of walkouts in May in a dispute over pay.
Unite said last week that 750 of its members have voted for strike action after rejecting a 6% pay offer and a one-off lump sum of £1,300, describing it as “significantly below” inflation.
GSK workers set to strike
Hundreds of workers at GSK are set to stage a series of walkouts in May in a dispute over pay.
Unite said 750 of its members have voted for strike action after rejecting a 6% pay offer and a one-off lump sum of £1,300, describing it as “significantly below” inflation.