Drug Stocks Offer Long-Term Investment Opportunities

In  a recent article I wrote that U.S. public healthcare spending is projected to exceed private spending by 2012. U.S. healthcare expenditures was estimated to reach about 17.3% of the GDP in 2009. One of the beneficiaries of all this spending are the companies in the healthcare industry such drug makers, health insurers, etc. They all may perform well in the coming years.

The table below lists the major drug stocks trading on the NYSE:


AstraZeneca plc, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Novartis AG and Tongjitang Chinese Medicines Co. are the four foreign drug companies in the list. U.K-based AstraZeneca (AZN) is the owner of many top selling drugs including the “purple pill” Nexium which is used for the treatment of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Currently AZN offers a 7.75% dividend yield. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is another British giant whose products are sold in over 150 countries. GSK pays a 6.02% dividend. Switzerland-based Novartis(NVS) had sales of over $45B last year.Tongjitang Chinese Medicines Co (TCM) is a specialty drug company that is engaged in the manufacture of modernized traditional Chinese medicine.

Among the U.S. companies, Johnson and Johnson(JNJ) is by far the largest maker of a wide range of healthcare products. JNJ was founded in 1886. The stock is a high quality long-term consistent performer. Form JNJ’s investor site:

Our consistent performance has enabled us to deliver an exceptional track record of growth that few, if any, companies can claim: 76 consecutive years of sales increases; 25 consecutive years of adjusted earnings increases; and 47 consecutive years of dividend increases. Over the last 10 years, Johnson & Johnson stock generated a 5.6 percent total return for investors compared to a -1.4 percent total return for the S&P 500.”

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