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GSK posts Q1 profit loss, points to decline in Avandia sales


LONDON GlaxoSmithKline released its first quarter report recently and profits fell 13 percent from $4.2 billion to $3.7 billion, according to published reports.

This decrease in sales is due mostly to the large decline in sales of the company’s diabetes drug Avandia, which saw a decline in revenue of 56 percent to $376.8 million. Sales for the drug have been decreasing ever since a report published last May in the New England Journal of Medicine alleged a link between the drug and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Generic competition also hurt figures for GSK. The company’s nausea drug Zofran saw sales drop by 69 percent to $57.2 million, the nasal allergy spray Flonase decreased by 33 percent to $90.7 million and its heart disease drug Coreg fell by 77 percent to $94.7 million.

GSK chief executive officer Jean-Pierre Garnier also responded to the accusation that GSK is paying well over the odds, $720 million, to acquire Sirtris Pharmaceuticals of the USA. He said that the premium is a reasonable one, given the “really innovative research” Sirtris is doing in terms of sirtuins, a class of enzymes that control the aging process.

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