Daily Rounds: Profitable Health Care Investments; Targeted Cancer Drugs; Single Mothers' Health

Investing: Can health care funds cure your portfolio? - Demographics favor health care stocks, and they're gaining some momentum after a multiyear fainting spell. But much of those gains come from biotechnology, the riskiest part of the sector's anatomy. But the health care sector covers a great deal of territory. Slicing the sector a bit further:
•Health care technology, up 24.9% this year
•Biotechnology, up 13.2%
•Pharmaceuticals, up 9.4%.
"What is tried and true in health care is that important new medical products will always be in fashion," says Kris Jenner, portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price Health Sciences fund (USA Today)

And on that theme, Paul Levy questions the profitable proliferation of proton beams: Not Running a Hospital: Some of my best friends are in private equity If you believe that there is some overall, sustainable level of health care expenditures for a country, every dollar that goes into expanding the number of facilities like these proton beam machines is one less dollar for primary care, cognitive specialists, palliative care, and the like. If we permit the "rule of rescue" to drive our health care expenditures, we will never focus on the most cost-effective and compassionate aspects of the care delivery system.
Some of my best friends work in private equity. But I don't trust them to make the right decisions for our health care system. (Running A Hospital)

Targeted drugs aid in cancer treatment - The Boston Globe So-called targeted cancer drugs, which are designed to disarm the specific genetic aberrations that drive a tumor, have been approved for a handful of cancers in the past decade, but increasingly, researchers are testing these drugs only in patients whose tumors carry the particular Achilles’ heel they are aimed at — with the hope that clinical trials will be quicker and cheaper because they need to enroll fewer patients.
For patients, the long-term benefit will be drugs that will likely become available faster and work better. The trade-off is that such treatments will work in smaller subsets of patients. (

Unwed mothers suffer long-term health woes, study finds - "Research has clearly shown the toll that long-term stress takes on health, and we know that single mothers have a great deal of stress in their lives," Williams said in a statement. "Their economic problems only add to the problem."
The researchers also found that later marriage did not generally help reverse the negative health consequences of having a first birth outside of marriage, unless you're white or Hispanic and you marry the father of the child. Black women did not seem to get health benefits from marrying the father of the child. (Los Angeles Times)

Massachusetts health reform didn't cut ER visits | Reuters (Reuters) U.S. Questions Europe’s Using Antibiotics Against E. Coli - Of particular concern to officials in the United States have been reports that the European outbreak involves bacteria resistant to antibiotics — not because such reports suggest a particularly dangerous bug, but because they suggest that the Europeans are not looking in the right direction to fight the outbreak.

This program aired on June 3, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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