The London-based business posted a 15% drop in operating profits to £2.1 billion and an 8% fall in turnover in the first three months of 2023 to just under £7 billion. That was overwhelmingly to do with the decline in sales from Covid-related treatments, which plummeted from £1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2022 to little more than £100 million in 2023, and which looks set to fall further still.
The firm said: “Based on known binding agreements with governments, GSK does not anticipate further significant COVID-19 pandemic-related sales or operating profit in 2023.” It added that full-year turnover growth would take a knock of 9%, and operating profit growth would dip up to 6%, as a result.
Excluding COVID-19 solutions, turnover increased by 10%, led by sales of its shingles vaccine Shingrix, meningitis vaccines and its treatments for HIV.
GSK shares fell 1.4% to 1479p.
The coronavirus pandemic has proved hugely lucrative to the pharma giants who were able to quickly bring life-saving treatments and vaccines to market. In 2021, five of the world’s biggest drugmakers made a combined £62 billion from coronavirus-related products, according to an Evening Standard analysis.
But after the pandemic died down, some have struggled to convince investors they have a strong enough drugs development pipeline to replace the heady sums they generated in 2021.
Shares in GSK have fallen 16% over the past year, while Pfizer shares are down 20% and BioNTech shares have sunk 23%. Astrazeneca, which promised to sell its pioneering Covid vaccine at cost, has not suffered the same fate, with its shares up 17% over the same period.