GlaxoSmithKline SWOT Analysis

  • Research and Development capabilities – A renewed financial investment into R&D will allow GSK to grow competitively as the company focuses on identifying new products and streamlining existing manufacturing through data management and AI infrastructure (Hirschler, 2017).
  • Global Sales and Patents - GSK operates as the sixth largest pharmaceutical company with a presence in over 115 countries. GSK controls some of the most profitable drug patents, one being the asthma drug, Advair which in 2016 generated one-tenth of the GSK's group revenue of £27bn (Financial Times, 2017).
  • Strong brand portfolio – GSK control some of the world's most recongisable brand names (Sensodyne, Aquafresh, Nicorette, Advair). All of which constantly perform yearly for GSK (GSK, 2016)
  • GSK's brand image – After controversies surrounding the Chinese corruption scandal, market manipulation in the UK, Tax issues in the US. Combined with the PR fallout from the sale of the beloved British Howlicks brands and the loss of over 300 jobs. GSK have recently developed a poor reputation for trustworthiness (Financial Times, 2017).
  • Heavy reliance on UK markets – The threat of Brexit will heavily hit GSK's operations as a majority of their manufacturing is based on UK/EU trade. The rise in import charges and weakened pound have led to GSK having to draw up contingency plans to whether they might have to move their operations (Vina, 2016).
  • Growth opportunity in the wellness sector – Traditional drug treatments are facing threats from new generic rivals. However, growth in the wellness sector of skincare products have opened a new opportunity to target premium customers (Financial Times, 2017)
  • Growth opportunity within Indian- While global pharmaceutical sales are falling, the Indian medical market is one of the few growth areas. Currently 30% of GSK's profits are made from India (The Economic Times, 2017).
  • Growth in technology – Streamlining drug manufacturing is emerging as a new competitive trend with the race to develop artificial intelligence to aid in drug trials. Controlling the patents on this new technology will emerge as very profitable for future markets (Hirschler, 2017)
  • Increase competition from generic drugs – For GSK, several key patents have expired since 2010 leading to a mass growth of generic drug rivals. Generic drugs undercut the premium GSK brand alternative and threaten earnings. It is now up to GSK to fund R&D and look to creating new patents for future developments (Vina, 2017)
  • Drug prices controls – Pressure on competitive drug prices in markets like the US are forcing GSK to price more competitively and creating pricing wars between rival pharma companies. As a result, US drug prices have risen by 12.4% in 2016 which have added extra costs to marketing in that region (Ward, 2016).