GSK warns Covid-19 will dent full-year earnings

Vaccines unit takes a hit as patients stay away from surgeries

GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines unit took  a hit as patients stay away from surgeries during Covid-19. Photograph: Loriene Perera/Reuters

GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines unit took a hit as patients stay away from surgeries during Covid-19. Photograph: Loriene Perera/Reuters

 

Pharma group GlaxoSmithKline cautioned full-year earnings would likely come in at the lower end of its forecast range after the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on its vaccines unit, with people in the United States shunning visits to their physician for their shots.

GSK shares were down 1 per cent at 1,347.2 pence after the drugmaker’s shingles vaccine Shingrix, the biggest driver of sales growth last year, saw quarterly revenue fall 30 per cent from a year earlier to £374 million (€414.7 million), some 18.5 per cent below market expectations.

GSK said on Wednesday it had lately seen a recovery in vaccination rates, with adult immunisations in the United States returning to prior-year levels towards the end of the quarter.

GSK is one of many drugmakers involved in a race to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 but lags behind frontrunners like AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

For the quarter, GSK reported adjusted earnings of 35.6 pence per share and sales of £8.67 billion.

GSK said it expects 2020 profit to be at the lower end of its previous forecast of a drop of between 1 per cent and 4 per cent, which did not include any potential impact from the coronavirus crisis. – Reuters