The big drugmaker blames the bad news on safety concerns surrounding its Avandia diabetes pill, which experienced a sales drop of 56 percent, and generic competition to the Coreg high blood pressure med and the Wellbutrin antidepressant. To cope with the downturn, Glaxo has been eliminating jobs and buying back shares.
Avandia "lost many users last year but in the last six to eight weeks we have seen stability in the number of prescriptions written for Avandia,'' JP Garnier, Glaxo's ceo, told journalists. "At this point it's too early to say whether we're going to be able to turn around the Avandia franchise and recoup the patients we lost. So far, at least, we have stopped the bleeding.''
Not much of a send-off for JP, though, who retires next month as Glaxo's ceo. Curiously, in a statement, JP says: “Our performance this quarter was in line with our expectations." But JP apparently didn't do enough to brace investors, who seemed to have had different expectations. "We knew it was going to be bad, but we didn't think it would be this bad,'' Jeremy Batstone-Carr, an analyst at Charles Stanley, tells Bloomberg News. "There was quite a substantial operating margin decline, more significant than we had anticipated.''
Never mind the investors. JP walks away with a golden goodbye - he was recently granted options that could yield up to nearly $5 million long after he retires.