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GSK Shares (GSK.L) Drop, Weighing On UK Index

Analyst Team trader
Updated 3 Jun 2024

Pharmaceutical major GSK's share price (LON:GSK) plummeted nearly 9% in morning trading following a crucial ruling by a U.S. judge that may pave the way for litigation tying its Zantac drug to cancer claims. The decision rendered in a Delaware court allowed for over 70,000 cases to proceed, putting the company under intense legal scrutiny. In response, GSK has vowed to appeal the ruling, firmly asserting that there is no reliable evidence that the active ingredient in Zantac, ranitidine, is associated with an increased cancer risk.

The litigation involves roughly 75,000 cases alleging that Zantac may be linked to cancer. This ruling is pivotal, as it allows for scientific testimonies that could potentially back the claims that Zantac, containing the active ingredient ranitidine, is carcinogenic.

Zantac first gained attention as a prescription drug in the 1980s and later became available over-the-counter. The product, however, was voluntarily pulled from markets in Europe and the U.S. in the years 2019 and 2020. This action was prompted by worries that Zantac could contain N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a potential cancer-causing substance.

In response to the Delaware court's decree, GSK has publicly disagreed with the decision and is actively seeking to appeal. The company insists that there is no reliable scientific evidence that supports a connection between ranitidine and an increased cancer risk. This defensive stance is mirrored by Sanofi, another pharmaceutical company involved in approximately 25,000 of the cited lawsuits. Like GSK, Sanofi has expressed its intention to appeal the ruling.

Importantly, there's a glimmer of hope for GSK suggested by analysts at Jefferies. A recent verdict from an Illinois jury found GSK and Boehringer Ingelheim not responsible in the first Zantac case to go to trial. This could potentially signify a less dire outcome for GSK as subsequent cases unfold.

Amidst the turmoil surrounding GSK, the FTSE 100 index exhibited resilience, climbing by 12 points to rest at 8288. Market sentiment was bolstered by conjectures of an impending interest rate cut by the European Central Bank, which would be hoped to set off other Central Banks.

In other corporate news, Hollywood Bowl (LON: BOWL), a leisure company trading on the FTSE 250 index, delivered a strong financial update. The company's half-year profits ascended by 11%, paralleled by a commendable increase in sales and pre-tax profits of 8% and nearly 11%, respectively. This financial success reflects the firm's robust operations and favourable consumer leisure spending trends. Despite this, the stock price trades down 2.26% after what was an early boost.

Finally, few constituents of the FTSE 100 such as Taylor Wimpey, and Marks & Spencer showcased positive movements, contributing to the overall uptrend in the index.


While GSK confronts legal headwinds that will likely present ongoing challenges, the broader UK market indicators, along with other corporate developments, signal a mixed yet dynamically shifting financial landscape.

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The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.