UK-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) released its third-quarter earnings report, which was higher than expected thanks in large part to the company’s newest shingles vaccine called “Shingrix.” According to Reuters, the company took in 8.09 billion pounds in sales and boosted its earnings per shares by more than two pence.
“The performance of our new launches is encouraging and this is where we continue to focus our resources,” said GSK CEO Emma Walmsley, according to Reuters. “Shingrix continues to have a remarkable start and we have now administered nearly 7 million doses worldwide since launch.”
Less encouraging news surrounding the company’s popular asthma medication, Advair, may be on the horizon. According to BioPharma Dive, Mylan, a US-based pharmaceutical company that specializes in generic medicines, is aiming to secure approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture a generic version of Advair. If approved, Mylan could begin cutting into GSK’s profits and could bring in $250 million in profit. However, the company has acknowledged that approval has not yet been granted.
“Mylan confirms it has not received any new information request or complete response letter from the FDA and continues to believe that FDA approval is imminent,” Mylan executives said in a statement, according to BioPharma Dive.
While Advair weighs heavy on GSK, the company also received positive reports concerning an experimental treatment for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). According to a report from Market Watch, researchers testing GSK-majority owned company ViiV Healthcare’s new treatment found that 90 percent of study participants showed “suppressed levels of HIV.”
ViiV’s new treatment consists of two drugs which are injected into the patient every eight weeks for a total of 160 weeks.
While ViiV’s new treatment is promising, a new report from PharmaForce International indicated that many pharmaceutical companies are focusing on vaccinations. According to the report, there has been an “eight percent increase” in the number of people employed by pharma companies to support vaccine sales. Of that number, more than 20 percent are focused on selling specialty vaccines. According to Fierce Pharma, a specialty vaccine is one that is outside the standard vaccination regimen.
While many physicians urged their patients to get immunized and to vaccinate their children, some healthcare providers in California are making money by selling “vaccine exemptions” to anti-vaccine parents. According to WebMD, a small number doctors are charging “hundreds of dollars” in exchange for a medical vaccine exemption ever since the state outlawed the personal-exemption a few years back. Not everyone in the healthcare industry agrees with the practice.
“To hear of physicians advertising to issue medical exemptions, which are mostly unwarranted, is to spit in the face of those pioneers who gave us vaccines, and has made those physicians advocates of the primitive Dark Ages when vaccine-preventable diseases flourished,” said senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Dr. Amesh Adalja, according to WebMD.