GlaxoSmithKline’s second quarter sales have risen on the back of its asset-swap deal with Novartis, but there are also new reports of bribery allegations in Romania.
Q2 sales were up by a total of 7% to £5.8 billion. This was partly driven by the vaccines business acquired from Novartis in March, which grew by 11%, as well as the two firms’ new joint consumer health venture, which grew by 51%.
Vaccines’ growth was aided by strong sales of the newly-acquired meningitis vaccines Bexsero and Menveo, but held back slightly by increased competition for childhood inoculation Infanrix/Pediarix.
But revenues for pharmaceutical products fell by 6%, which the company says primarily reflects the sale of the oncology business to Novartis. Respiratory sales also continued to decline, though, falling 6% on the back of more disappointing results for aging drugs Seretide/Advair and Flixotide/Flovent.
“This is our first full quarter of performance since completion of the transaction with Novartis and it is encouraging,” says Sir Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive. “Our integration and restructuring plans are on track and we remain confident that we can achieve our targets for this year and return the group to earnings growth in 2016.”
A new scandal?
GSK is still trying to recover in the wake of the Chinese bribery scandal, which resulted in a fine of £297 million, and several other corruption probes in other countries – but new reports say that it is investigating further allegations of bribery in Romania.
Reuters reports that the firm is looking into a whistleblower email that claims GSK paid hundreds of euros to doctors for prescribing its medicines between 2009 and 2012.
In a statement the company says: “We do receive letters of this sort from time to time. We welcome and support the opportunity for people to speak up if they have any concerns.
“Sometimes we do find things and we act on it; sometimes our findings do not substantiate the matters being raised."