Avandia’s latest side effect: $200 million in lost revenues for Glaxo

Glaxo pulled a rabbit out of the hat in its earnings report today with a little misdirection. Per MarketWatch:

GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday took some of the attention away from disappointing sales of diabetes drugs by announcing it was lifting its stock buyback authorization to 12 billion pounds ($24.7 billion).

Experts expected to see Glaxo report a $200 million revenue plunge in sales of Avandia, its diabetes medicine that’s been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. According to The Times of London, analysts, on average, predicted that global sales of the drug during the three months to June 30 had fallen by 23 per cent to 367 million, compared to 477 million in 2006. (You can double those numbers for the impact in U.S. dollars.)

The drop in sales was even worse, though — to 349 million.

Nonetheless, with the buy-back news, the stock was up Wednesday.

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