The pandemic will recast America’s health-care industrial complex

DOCTORS AND nurses at Northwell Health have treated nearly 40,000 covid-19 cases, more than any other American provider. But Michael Dowling, who runs New York state’s largest hospital firm, is not triumphant. “This crisis has humbled us,” he sighs. The same goes for much of America’s $4trn health-care sector.

You might think that if anyone stood to benefit from the world’s biggest pandemic in a century it would be providers of health care. Markets certainly give that impression. Health-related firms in the S&P 500 have outperformed the broader index since March, when covid-19 first hit America hard (see chart 1). On May 5th Regeneron, a biotech firm with a promising antibody cocktail, reported first-quarter sales of $1.8bn, a third more than last year. Gilead has received emergency approval to use remdesivir, an antiviral agent it is developing, in coronavirus patients; its share price is up by 19% this year.

For most of the industry, America’s biggest, covid-19 may prove less rewarding as the pandemic unfolds. Reduced spending on health care accounted for nearly half of the 1.2% quarter-on-quarter drop in GDP in the first three months of the year. Things could get worse. Even Regeneron and Gilead are not all they are trumped up to be.

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via Business Feeds

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