Glaxo close to release of 30 new drugs

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GlaxoSmithKline insisted it is well placed to reverse falling sales after it highlighted a portfolio of 30 drugs within sight of release.

Chief executive Sir Andrew Witty said there were “increasing signs that we can replenish our pipeline on an ongoing basis”, offsetting fears over the impact of cheaper generic competition and government austerity measures.

Three new products, which include treatments for epilepsy and restless legs syndrome, were approved in 2011 and four new vaccines and medicines are ready to file in the next year, including its hepatitis C treatment Promacta.

There are up to 30 new drugs expected to enter late-stage development in the next three years, the company added.

Turnover fell 2 per cent in the three months to the end of 2011, leaving full-year sales down 3 per cent at £27.4bn amid weak demand for vaccines. Its consumer business, which makes products such as Lucozade and Ribena, suffered a 6 per cent profits fall amid tough conditions in Western markets.

Austerity measures in Europe and medical reforms in the US wiped £315m from sales in the year, while controversial diabetes drug Avandia was taken off the market in Europe following allegations it caused an increased risk of heart attack.

But underlying profits rose 65 per cent to £8.4bn after it came up against weak figures from the previous year when it paid out £4bn in legal claims over the alleged side-effects of some of its drugs.

And in the final quarter of the year it swung back to profit after it incurred £2.2bn in legal charges the previous year.