GlaxoSmithKline reports profits rise

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British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Wednesday that net profit rose 14 percent to £1.525 billion (1.72 billion euros, $2.5 billion) in the first quarter, despite a slump in product sales.

Savings from a major cost-cutting programme helped to offset a 10-percent drop in sales to £6.585 billion in the three months to March 31, compared with the first quarter of 2010, GSK said in an earnings statement.

GSK was rocked in September when the EU medicines regulator decided to pull its former diabetes product Avandia off the shelves over fears that it increased the risk of heart attack and strokes.

Regulators also restricted its availability in the United States.

© 2011 AFP

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