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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Leaked memo shows resistance to data transparency

While GlaxoSmithKline and Roche have taken steps to make clinical trial data publicly available, some within the industry remain resistant to greater transparency. And a leaked memo shows they are devising strategies to counter European proposals for a public database.

GlaxoSmithKline exec admits 'breaches,' promises price cuts in China

Sent to deal with the developing case personally, emerging markets chief Abbas Hussain met with ministry officials--and reportedly apologized to them. Afterward, Hussain admitted that top execs had probably breached Chinese law. And then, adding a sweetener to his mea culpa, Hussain promised changes that would cut the prices of his company's drugs in China.

Chinese police pick up AstraZeneca sales rep for questioning

Police visited AstraZeneca's operations in Huangpu Friday and took a sales rep away for questioning,  Reuters reports. The company said the visit was part of a "local police matter" and tried to distance itself from the fast-moving GlaxoSmithKline bribery scandal.

GSK sends contingent to China, even as country prevents one exec from leaving

Given that China is preventing a top GlaxoSmithKline exec from leaving the country as it investigates alleged bribery in the country, it seems risky to send more of his colleagues into the fray. But that is what the British drugmaker is doing, even as the probe widens to other companies.

As bribery probe intensifies, China confines GlaxoSmithKline finance chief to its borders

In the midst of investigating GSK for bribery, Chinese officials confined GSK finance chief Steve Nechelput to the country at the end of June, Reuters reports. His boss, China general manager Mark Reilly, got out on June 27, Bloomberg reports, citing Chinese officials.

China crackdown: Is it designed to cut healthcare costs?

Could China's very public bribery probe of GlaxoSmithKline, its review of pharmaceutical pricing and a new crackdown on quality be a master scheme to get drugmakers to cut prices so that China can deliver on its promise of affordable healthcare for its citizens?

China's corruption watchdogs eye 4 more drugmakers

The news about GlaxoSmithKline's activities in China is getting more dramatic by the day. But now, the British drugmaker can take comfort in the fact that it's not alone. 

New data supports vaccinating gay men against HPV

A new paper has validated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2011 recommendation that males receive the HPV vaccine, particularly men who have sex with men, who are a higher risk group.

China calls GSK 'godfather' in alleged bribery scheme

Chinese law enforcement officials investigating GlaxoSmithKline for allegedly bribing docs to get business say that in the process, they have uncovered information on the same kinds of tactics being used by other foreign drugmakers. They have not said if they will follow up on those leads.

Will GSK's China mess damage the country's R&D boom?

GlaxoSmithKline faced a barrage of headlines around the world after Chinese police officials made a series of salacious allegations about widespread corruption while raising questions about the absence of GlaxoSmithKline's China operations, Mark Reilly, who left the country on June 27 and has not returned.