Listed as number three in pharma sales, GlaxoSmithKline has had some rough luck thanks in part to the diabetes drug Avandia, which has been pulled out of Europe and restricted in the U.S after global side effect concerns since 2007. The company cut its losses on the drug, writing off $233 million in supplies and eliminating its marketing efforts of the drug.

The company has racked up some charges against its earnings, including over $6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010 from Avandia and marketing settlements. GSK settled 10,000 Avandia lawsuits for a combined $460 million. Also, the company hit number three on FiercePharma's Top Layoffs of 2010 list with 5,201 jobs lost. While other companies look towards more spinoffs, GSK has focused on emerging markets as its ticket to higher revenue. It purchased Laboratorios Phoenix in 2009 and China's MeiRui in 2010; the UK-based company said the impact of its layoffs would be masked by more job opportunities in Asia and South America.

In early 2011, GSK and Human Genome Sciences gained FDA approval for Benlysta, the first new lupus treatment in more than 50 years, and experts believe it could be a $3 billion to $5 billion worldwide sales heyday for the partnership. But the FDA denied an extended approval and a potential $1 billion in sales to GSK from the prostate drug Avodart. While the drug was effective against low-risk malignant tumors, it potentially heightened the risk of developing more aggressive tumors.

GSK spun off its HIV treatments into ViiV Healthcare in 2009, combining it with Pfizer's former R&D efforts in the field. ViiV markets Ziagen, Trizivir, Epzicom and abacavir as part of its suite of drugs for HIV/AIDS.



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Pharma giants' oral EPO alternatives could cater to dopers

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty has high hopes for an experimental pill his company is developing for anemia, as the drug could offer an oral alternative to injected EPO therapies.

New GlaxoSmithKline lung drug nabs thumbs-up from FDA experts

The agency advisers weren't unanimous in backing GSK's follow-up to now-off-patent Advair, however.

Will Brazil grab the emerging-markets popularity crown?

China and India may top the list of fastest-growing pharma markets, but Brazil is no slouch, either. Drugmakers are wheeling and dealing there at an increasingly faster pace, as companies like Merck and Reckitt Benckiser join old-timers like Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline in beefing up there.

India's Biological E pentavalent vaccine takes on GSK, J&J

The rise of vaccine manufacturers in emerging markets, particularly India, has helped depress the cost of immunization in recent years. Indian suppliers have rolled out vaccines at significant discounts and Western manufacturers have followed suit, slashing prices in poorer countries.

H7N9 cases jump, some show resistance to Roche's Tamiflu

The arms race analogy for vaccines is rarely more apt than during a pandemic flu outbreak. Last week the U.S. touted a new, more streamlined approach to vaccine development. This week the virus raised the stakes with a surge of new cases that suggest it is adapting to human hosts.

GlaxoSmithKline picks up FDA panel plug for Breo approval

GlaxoSmithKline took its Breo Ellipta program a step forward Wednesday afternoon, winning the endorsement of an FDA committee for approval of the once-daily treatment for patients with COPD.

Top 10 pharma companies by employees

Being the largest company by any number of measures--revenues, earnings, those kinds of yardsticks--is a good thing. Being the largest by number of employees is trickier, unless yours is also the largest by those other measures. As we have seen time and again in recent years in the pharma industry, having lots of employees and falling revenues is a formula that leads to layoffs. As a whole, the top 10 companies had fewer employees at the end of 2012 than at the end of 2011. Read the report >>

Supreme Court exposes GlaxoSmithKline to Humana's Avandia-spending claims

The ruling not only opens GSK to the Humana suit, which applies to its Medicare Advantage plans, but also to potential lawsuits from other insurers.

UPDATED: Theravance rallies after FDA's mixed Breo briefing

As GlaxoSmithKline gears up for an advisory committee meeting on Breo, the British drug giant can expect to face questions about the efficacy of the inhaled once-daily combo of fluticasone furoate (FF) and vilanterol (VI).

FDA taking new look at Avandia risks

Once Avandia's heart risks were fully understood, the former blockbuster from GlaxoSmithKline, was tightly restricted in the U.S. and pulled from the European market. The diabetes drug was at the heart of the company's $3 billion settlement with federal authorities last year. Now, the FDA will take another hard look at the research on its side effects to see if there is something more the agency should do to limit its use.