Business briefs: GlaxoSmithKline, Burson-Marsteller

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GlaxoSmithKline's Wednesday earnings announcement opened with CEO Andrew Witty saying the company was entering the year with “the potential to launch 15 new drugs” between now and 2016. Witty also said in a statement that 2013 will be the basis for “what should be a series of growth years for GSK.” The company's fourth quarter closed with $11 billion in sales, flat against the same period last year. GSK saw 2012 sales slide 1% for the year, to $41 billion. Pharmaceutical and vaccine sales slid 2% during the quarter and 2% during the year. Consumer sales were flat for the quarter and for the year, although GSK said US consumer sales rose 2% while Europe's were flat. The company attributed this performance partly to the economy,  but also to what it called “the drag from Alli,” the over-the-counter weight-loss drug that it hasn't been able to cleave from its portfolio.

PR firm Burson-Marsteller made a pair of appointments, announcing that the ex-Cord Blood Registry chief marketing officer David Zitlow will chair its US healthcare practice while Lisa Davidson, who has led the New York healthcare team since 2009, becomes US deputy chair. Zitlow's background includes a stint as EVP of the healthcare practice for GolinHarris. Davidson previously headed up the healthcare practice at Porter Novelli, where she was a partner.

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