Year-end earnings season is underway and well-known pharma companies are releasing their latest financial results.

On Wednesday morning, three such players — Novo Nordisk, GSK and Novartis — shared how they each respectively finished 2023 and offered a look ahead to 2024.

Check out the breakdowns of each drugmaker’s most recent earnings reports below.

Novo Nordisk

As it had since the tail end of 2022, the story remains the same for Novo: GLP-1 drugs Wegovy and Ozempic continue to carry the company’s financial performance.

In 2023, Novo’s sales rose 36% at constant exchange rates (CER) to 232.3 billion Danish kroner (DKK). Sales of diabetes and obesity care products rose 42% at CER during the same period, with GLP-1 diabetes sales jumping 52% at CER while obesity care sales skyrocketed 154% at CER.

Continued dominance in the GLP-1 space has buoyed Novo’s bottom line and made the company synonymous with the unprecedented demand and interest in weight loss treatments. 

The company’s operating profit rose 44% at CER to 102.57 DKK, while its net profit reached 83.68 billion DKK.

These strong, sustained financial results come amid an ongoing rivalry with Eli Lilly and the threat of new entrant Roche, which completed a nearly $3 billion acquisition of Carmot Therapeutics last month.

Meanwhile, outside of its diabetes and obesity offerings, the drugmaker reported a 15% decline in sales for rare disease medicines, which it attributed to a reduction in manufacturing output. 

As for the year ahead, Novo projected sales growth between 18% to 26% at CER, with operating profit growth between 21% to 29% at CER.

“We are very pleased with the strong performance in 2023 reflecting that more than 40 million people are now benefiting from our innovative diabetes and obesity treatments,” Novo CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said in a statement. “We continue to make progress on our strategic aspirations. Our focus in 2024 will be on reaching more patients, progressing and expanding our pipeline as well as the continued significant expansion of our production capacity.”


The British pharma giant benefited from the performance of its RSV vaccine Arexvy as it wrapped up 2023.

For the full year, Arexvy contributed £1.2 billion in sales, with its vaccine sales rising 25% year-over-year at CER. Shingrix added another £3.4 billion in sales.

By segment, specialty medicine sales fell 8% while general medicines rose 5%. Ultimately, GSK recorded £30.3 billion in total sales, a 5% increase at CER, though the drugmaker noted that sales were up 14% excluding COVID-19 products.

GSK’s total operating profit rose 10% at CER to £6.7 billion, its total earnings per share (EPS) rose 16% to 121.6p and its adjusted operating profit increased 12% to £8.7 billion.

For the most recent quarter, sales just exceeded £8 billion, up 15% year-over-year, though GSK’s total operating profit fell 60% to £573 million and its total EPS dropped 68% to 8.6p.

The company’s earnings release prompted a mixed reaction among analysts, with J.P. Morgan reiterating its ‘Sell’ rating while UBS reiterated its ‘Buy’ rating.

Looking ahead, GSK estimated sales growth between 5% to 7% in 2024 along with an adjusted operating growth between 7% to 10% and an adjusted EPS growth between 6% to 9%. As it applies to years ahead, GSK said its 2021-2026 outlook increased sales to more than 7% compounded annual growth rate and that its 2031 sales outlook increased to more than £38 billion.

“GSK delivered excellent performance in 2023, with clear highlights being the exceptional launch of Arexvy and continued progress in our pipeline,” GSK CEO Dame Emma Walmsley said in a statement. “We are now planning for at least 12 major launches from 2025, with new Vaccines and Specialty Medicines for infectious diseases, HIV, respiratory and oncology. As a result of this progress and momentum, we expect to deliver another year of meaningful sales and earnings growth in 2024, and we are upgrading our growth outlooks for 2026 and 2031. We remain focused on delivering this potential – and more – to prevent and change the course of disease for millions of people.”

GSK’s earnings were unveiled after a couple of major acquisitions for the company, namely its $1.7 billion deal with China-based Hansoh Pharma to pick up the rights to an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), HS-20093, and its purchase of Aiolos Bio for $1 billion upfront, with up to $400 million in potential milestone payments.

Additionally, GSK’s blood cancer drug Blenrep, which was withdrawn from the U.S. market just at the end of 2022, garnered renewed interest thanks to positive data from a combination trial unveiled in November 2023.


The Swiss pharma giant reported an earnings miss per consensus analyst expectations for Q4 despite a strong effort in 2023.

The company’s core EPS, net sales and full year outlook underwhelmed Wall Street analysts who expected more.

Novartis’ quarterly core EPS was $1.53 and net sales totaled $11.4 billion, both year-over-year increases, though below analyst estimates. The drugmaker’s operating income for the quarter hit $2.5 billion, up 47% year-over-year, while its net income reached $2.6 billion, up 101%.

For the year as a whole, Novartis’ net sales grew 8% and its core operating income grew 11% thanks to several drugs, including Entresto, Kesimpta and Kisqali, among others.

The company’s outlook also drew attention Wednesday morning, with net sales expected to grow by mid-single digits in 2024 while core operating income is expected to grow by high-single digits.

“Novartis completed its strategic transformation into a pure-play innovative medicines company and continued its relentless pursuit of sustainable shareholder value creation,” Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said in a statement. “Our robust operational performance continues, with strong double-digit top and bottom-line growth, for the quarter and full year. We delivered ten positive Ph3 readouts on assets with significant sales potential, over the past year. The very strong performance of our key growth drivers and pipeline underscores the confidence in our growth (5% cc CAGR 2023-2028) and margin (40%+ by 2027) mid-term guidance.”

The earnings report was released after Novartis began the year on an active streak from a dealmaking perspective.

Just after New Year’s Day, Novartis inked a strategic collaboration and capsid license agreement with Voyager Therapeutics that could total $1.3 billion. Shortly thereafter, the drugmaker unveiled its acquisition of Calypso Biotech, with an upfront payment of $250 million and potential milestones worth up to $175 million.

However, it hasn’t been all greenlights when it comes to M&A.

During the 2024 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, media reports emerged that Novartis was close to acquiring Cytokinetics and its promising heart drug. However, by the end of the week, the drugmaker reportedly dropped its pursuit of the biotech.

For a February 2024 article on Novartis buying biotech MorphoSys AG, click here.