Drugs giants GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca unveiled big rises in sales yesterday with demand for key drugs soaring.
GlaxoSmithKline, the larger of the two, said sales of its asthma product Advair and Avandia for diabetes increased 20 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
The British company, whose market capitalisation is £83bn, has seen sales in America, its most important market, climb by 11 per cent. Growth in Europe and the rest of its international markets were similarly strong, growing 9 and 8 per cent respectively. Its biggest selling product, which is Advair, contributed £737m.
Vaccines, which now account for £399m of sales, have also boosted earnings. GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier said the company was looking for partners to help boost supply. It is building capacity to produce a vaccine for use in a flu pandemic. “Recent concerns of a possible flu pandemic have significantly increased current demand for GSK’s antiviral, Relenza,” it said. Its shares rose on the update. AstraZeneca, the Anglo-Swedish group, has seen its profits rise 49 per cent to $1.7bn (£952m).
Sir Tom McKillop, AZ’s chief executive, said it was “an outstanding result”. Most of its sales come from America. Shares fell 3.44 per cent amid concerns about new products. The company is facing patent challenges to medicines such as its Nexium ulcer treatment and Seroquel for schizophrenia. Shares in GSK ended three per cent higher.