Government Employees Life Insurance Co. yesterday reported its profits edged up 3 percent last year to $8.4 million ($1.88 a share) from $8.2 million ($1.82) in 1979.

Government Employees Life earned an operating profit of $2.24 million in the fourth quarter, up from $2.17 million the previous year. Net income for the quarter fell to $2.19 million (49 cents) from $2.25 million (50 cents). The results include adjustments for investments, which resulted in a $55,000 loss last year and a $75,000 profit in the final quarter of 1979.

The life insurance subsidiary of Geico Corp. said the value of its insurance policies in force increased from $1.9 billion to just over $2 billion, but its annual premium income fell fro $2.6 million to $2.5 million.

The Virginia and Maryland Railroad, an Eastern Shore short line, posted an operating profit of $114,734 for 1980 compared with a loss of $363,402 for 1979.

The railroad said cuts in operating expenses, an expanded marketing effort and increaseed coal shipments to local power plants contributed to the turnaround and produced revenues of $3.3 million for the year.

Strother Drug Co. of Lynchburg reported a 17 percent gain in earnings for the quarter and an improvement of almost 12 percent for the first nine months of its fiscal year.

For the quarter, sales increased to $14.5 million from $12.6 million and earnings climbed to $374,000 (44 cents a share) from $319,000 (38 cents a share). Nine-month sales totaled $40.1 million, up from $35.3 million and earnings increased to $997,000 ($1.18) from $891,000 ($1.05).

The Washington Corp. reported profits of $1.72 million (74 cents a share) for 1980, up from $1.02 million (45 cents) a year ago. The improved profits reflected both a $919,000 reduction in the reserve for possible losses and a $981,000 gain.