GlaxoSmithKline profits up 34 pct on strong sales of over-the-counter products, vaccines

LONDON – British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline saw third quarter net income rise to 538 million pounds ($824 million) from 401 million pounds a year earlier as it benefits from a recent asset swap with rival Novartis.

The company said Wednesday that sales of consumer healthcare products rose 55 per cent with the start of over-the-counter sales of Flonase in the U.S. and a strong performance from pain relievers Voltaren and Panadol in Europe.

Sales of vaccines increased 32 per cent, driven by products such as Bexsero, which is used against meningitis B and was acquired from Novartis.

GSK sold its cancer-drug business to Novartis in exchange for the Swiss company’s vaccines business and cash. Big drugmakers have been shedding units that aren’t central to their businesses to focus on strengths amid pressure from generic producers.