If you're an ailing large-cap pharma, you take your wins where you can get them -- even if they stem only from currency woes. Last week, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) reported its first-quarter financial results for 2008, and the numbers offered little improvement over a rough 2007.

Although the still-falling dollar will probably hurt many of the mainland European large-cap pharmas' financial results this year, Glaxo and its other British brethren, such as AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN), stand to get a big boost from the falling dollar and British pound. In the first quarter, Glaxo reported revenue growth of 2%, and only a 5% earnings decline, because of a five-percentage-point revenue gain and a four-percentage-point earnings benefit from the falling pound. Had currencies stayed constant year over year, Glaxo's results would have looked even more anemic, with a recorded 3% revenue decline and a 9% earnings drop.

Not counting currency effects, Glaxo still expects a "mid-single-digit percentage" decline in adjusted earnings per share from last year's $1.97. Glaxo's downbeat guidance for the year stems largely from the lingering sting of the potential safety issues with diabetes treatment Avandia, and from rising generic competition for some of its former top drugs, such as heart-failure treatment Coreg. 

Two years ago, I had the financial fortitude to pick Glaxo as my one blue-chip pharma stock to own. Shortly afterward, all of the Avandia issues emerged and demolished the drug's sales-growth prospects. Even counting Glaxo's five generous dividend payouts since, the company's shares have fallen 11% since my ill-timed pick. Despite this lackluster performance, Glaxo's pipeline still looks relatively strong. If you believe Glaxo can shore up sales for some of its top drugs, nibbling on its shares may lead to better times in the future. In the meantime, you'll enjoy a 5.7% dividend yield while you wait to find out.

GlaxoSmithKline is an active Income Investor pick. To see how dividend-paying stocks can offer both secure income and the opportunity for growth, take a free look at this newsletter with a 30-day free trial.

Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has an A+ disclosure policy.