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GlaxoSmithKline SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

ID : 52166353| Sep 2020

COMPANY PROFILE -GlaxoSmithKline Plc

Business Sector :Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Healthcare

Operating Geography :United Kingdom, Global

About GlaxoSmithKline Plc :

GlaxoSmithKline is a British pharmaceuticals and healthcare company headquartered in Brentford, UK. GSK has three major businesses namely pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. GSK offers an extensive array of innovative and established medicines, vaccines, and consumer health care products under well-renowned brands, to millions of patients and consumers across the globe.
Pharmaceuticals are one of the core businesses of GSK. The company has already attained leadership positions in respiratory and HIV. GSK is now focusing on a new R&D strategy on immunology, human genetics, and advanced technologies in order to come up with the most promising medicines besides strengthening its existing pipeline. By delivering millions of vaccine doses to people from across 158 countries, GSK has positioned itself as one of the top vaccine companies in the world. GSK's strategy for its Consumer Healthcare business is to combine science and customer insights to produce innovative everyday healthcare products. Its healthcare portfolio consists of brands for oral health, pain relief, respiratory, skin health, nutrition, and digestive health divisions.
As of Q2 2019, 17 oncology assets in GSK's pipeline and 44 new medicines are in development. GSK is the eighth largest pharmaceutical companies in the world as of 2019.
The company’s vision is to “be one of the world’s most innovative, best performing and trusted healthcare companies”. GSK’s mission “is to help people do more, feel better, live longer.”
GSK’s USP or unique selling proposition lies in being the 8th largest pharmaceutical company, and one of the largest investors in R&D, across the world with commercial leadership in respiratory and HIV.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc Revenue :

£30.821 billion - FY ending 31st Dec 2017 (y o y growth 0.2%) £30.2 billion - FY ending 31st Dec 2017 £27.9 billion - FY ending 31st Dec 2016

Competitive Analysis of GlaxoSmithKline Plc

GSK began its successful journey as an apothecary shop in London since then the company's driving force has been innovation. From a group of individual entrepreneurs to a global organization of around 100,000 employees, GSK has discovered, developed, and commercialized a variety of medicines, vaccines and healthcare products that constitute the pillars of today’s GSK. GlaxoSmithKline is a science-led global health care company whose core values are patient focus, transparency, respect, and integrity. Therefore, the SWOT report is essential to manifest a discussion on all the pertinent internal strategic factors of GSK that contribute to the trajectory growth of the company. The SWOT Analysis of GSK substantiates the company's current major strengths and opportunities from its external environment that can be consolidated to further strengthen the company. The report also bestows intelligence on GSK's internal weaknesses and external threats that can cripple its growth.
The core competency of GSK and one of its major strengths is its strong Research & Development wing that presents the company with a competitive edge over its rivals. In 2018 the company has invested around £3.9 billion in R&D to focus on scientific research related to the immune system, human genetics, and advanced technologies. Apart from strong R&D capabilities internal factors like global presence, strong distribution and sales network, joint ventures, a broad array of products, etc., are quintessential strengths of GSK.
GSK has come under a scanner for a health-care fraud case of promoting drugs for unapproved uses and failure to report safety data. These healthcare fraud allegations are not only a mere weakness of a healthcare company but also supremely dent the reputation of the company extensively.
GSK seeks opportunities in collaborating with renowned companies, for instance in 2019 GSK announced a five-year collaboration with Lyell Immunopharma, a San Francisco biotechnology company, to develop new technologies to enhance cell therapies for cancer patients. Launching new products is another great opportunity for growth of the pharma company. GSK encompasses this opportunity by strengthening its product pipeline and introducing advanced assets in Respiratory, HIV and, notably, Oncology sectors. GSK's pharmaceutical and consumer products face stringent competition threat from top industry players, creating limited market share and price wars. Also, generic drugs have become a threat to pharmaceutical companies as their demand, sales and availability are increasing.
The SWOT analysis for GlaxoSmithKline is presented below in a matrix followed by the detailed analysis:
1. Developed a competitive advantage through consumer-centric, science-based innovation
2. Leadership in key Over-the-Counter (OTC) and oral health segments
3. Global sales and marketing infrastructure
1. GSK’s brand image being affected by the health care settlements in the US and bribery charges
1. Favorable demographic and economic trends
2. Growth opportunity in the vaccines business
3. Growth opportunity in the HIV and infectious disease business
4. Opportunities in the emerging markets driven by the increasing awareness about healthcare needs
1. Intense competition from Generic drugs
2. Drug pricing controls leading to cost containment pressures
3. Challenges with emerging markets
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of GlaxoSmithKline Plc


1. Developed a competitive advantage through consumer-centric, science-based innovation: GSK has developed a competitive advantage over the years through research & development capabilities which has driven product expansion and is one of its major strengths. GSK is committed towards technological innovation keeping the consumer in the focus. This is evident from their R&D investments which accounted to £3.6 billion in 2016. The R&D budget was allocated across their three businesses on six core areas (respiratory diseases, HIV and infectious diseases, etc). The R&D success is evident from the fact that currently, they have 14 candidate vaccines for a range of diseases. In addition to their internal R&D team, GSK has external partnerships and collaborations with 1500 academic bodies, biotechs and other pharmaceutical companies which have helped them over the years to formulate a strong basis for research and development. The increased focus on product development helps GSK to strengthen its market position and helps them in maintaining a robust product pipeline.

2. Leadership in key Over-the-Counter (OTC) and oral health segments: GSK is a market leader in key OTC and healthcare categories and segments. Leading products in OTC segment include Voltaren - #1 in global pain market, Theraflu - #1 in global respiratory market and Eno which is #3 in global digestive health market. The company’s oral health segment offers products such as Sensodyne - #1 in global sensitivity, Pardontax - #1 in gum health and Poligrip which is #1 in global denture. The continued success of these products has given GSK a strong footprint across several markets.

3. Global sales and marketing infrastructure: GSK has maintained a global footprint and is considered as one of the most prominent prescription pharmaceutical companies worldwide. They are present in 150+ markets. The global footprint has a dual advantage; firstly it helps the company with their strategic expansion in emerging markets and secondly, it enables GSK to go in for co-development and other collaborations with other industry stakeholders.


1) GSK’s brand image being affected by the health care settlements in the US and the bribery charges against them: GSK has been involved in many legal issues in the recent past. The company has been reported on several grounds regarding information related to safety data, false price reporting practices, illegally promoting antidepressants, etc. In 2012, the company entered a settlement with the US government which is supposedly the largest settlement in the pharmaceutical world where GSK ended up paying a fine of $3 billion ($1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion to resolve the civil liabilities). Although it has been five years since the incident, the thing that makes the issue still relevant is the fact that the case was levied against Paxil and Wellbutrin, GSK’s best-selling antidepressants. The non-monetary impact of such settlements is long-term, and the companies tend to take a major hit on their brand image which certainly was the case with GSK as well.

Major Brands :

    Pharmaceutical products
  • Calpol, others
  • Havrix (for hepatitis A)
  • Rotarix (for human rotavirus)
  • Typherix (for typhoid)
    Consumer healthcare products
  • Aquafresh
  • Binaca
  • Horlicks
  • Nicorette
  • Panadol
  • Sensodyne
SWOT & PESTLE (combined)
Complete Report
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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

• The SWOT and PESTEL analysis report of GLAXOSMITHKLINE manifests the complex internal and external factors affecting the GSK's brand, its operations, business model, market strategy and growth trajectory.
• The SWOT analysis assesses the strengths and opportunities that GSK possesses and how it strategizes itself to overcome its weaknesses and threats in its operating macro environment.
• Understanding the role of technology and the company's core competencies in shaping GSK's business and presenting the company with a competitive advantage over its competitors.
• The PESTLE analysis of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry helps to distinguish the factors that compel and restrain the entire industry and largely GSK.
• The PESTLE/ PESTEL/ STEEPL Analysis provides in-depth analysis of all external factors specifically, political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental, highlighting their consequence on GSK's business model, marketing and growth strategy.
• Abstract information on GSK's business diversification, deriving its key business segments and highlighting its major competitors.
• A comprehensive company analysis to obtain perspicacity into company information, company profile, business model, business plans and marketing strategy.
• Analysis of GSK's mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships and alliances, that the GSK endorsed, and the business aims or synergies that were achieved with them.
• Interpretation of GSK’s USP or unique selling proposition, mission statement, and vision statement. With a peek into the GSK's key performance indicators, core values, success factors, value proposition, and core competencies.
• Discussion on H&M's business model, extending to the analysis of key business segments and business case study.
References used in GlaxoSmithKline Plc Analysis Report

1. GSK Annual Report 2018 -

2. GSK Annual Report 2017 -

3. GSK company website -

4. GSK About Us -

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GlaxoSmithKline SWOT & PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & PESTLE.COM

SWOT & (2021). GlaxoSmithKline SWOT & PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Feb, 2021].

In-text: (SWOT &, 2021)

Copyrights and Disclaimer

GlaxoSmithKline SWOT analysis has been conducted by Mahakpreet Singh Bhatia and reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting.

Copyright of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) SWOT and PESTLE Analysis is the property of Barakaat Consulting. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions page for usage guidelines.
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