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25 July 2019Big PharmaSarah Morgan

Vaccines growth offsets Advair generic pain for GSK

Growth in GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) vaccines and consumer healthcare divisions has managed to partly counter the impact of generic versions of Advair (fluticasone propionate/salmeterol) on its sales.

In its second-quarter earnings results, issued yesterday, July 24, GSK noted that sales of its respiratory inhaler Advair dropped by 61% in the quarter to £105 million ($131 million) and that it expects a further decline later this year.

This was the first full quarter of generic competition for the inhaler after Mylan launched Wixela Inhub, the first Advair copycat, in February.

Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK, said: “GSK delivered continued good operating performance in Q2 despite the loss of exclusivity of Advair. We are increasing our expectations for the year and have updated our guidance for 2019.”

Total respiratory sales were up 12% to £752 million in the quarter, with strong growth in Europe and international regions.

But, established respiratory products declined 14%, with the decline in Advair partially offset by higher sales of Ventolin (salbutamol) and allergy products.

Strong growth in GSK’s vaccines division (up 23% in the quarter to £1.6 billion) was primarily driven by growth in sales of Shingrix, a vaccine for the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster) in adults 50 years and older.

The increase in vaccine sales, in combination with 4% growth in consumer healthcare, helped to partially offset a decline in pharmaceuticals and drove group sales to £7.8 billion.

Walmsley added: “We remain focused on strengthening our research and development pipeline and the execution of new product launches. Positive clinical data received so far this year offer significant new opportunities for products in oncology, HIV and respiratory and we expect more important readouts in the second half of the year.”

GSK’s total operating profit reached nearly £1.5 billion in the second quarter, compared with £779 million in the second quarter of 2018. The profit was impacted by the launch of an Advair generic and investment in R&D, particularly in the oncology space.

In December last year, GSK agreed to buy oncology company Tesaro for $5.1 billion (£4 billion), in a bid to accelerate the build of its oncology pipeline and commercial footprint.

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