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Health care industry on track for massive profits

A doctor looks at monitors during a surgery.
Business is booming for health care companies. Photo: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

With more than a week to go in the second-quarter earnings season, the health care industry has already banked more profits than any other quarter in the past year.

The bottom line: Company after company has posted profits that have exceeded Wall Street estimates, and most firms have raised profit estimates for the rest of 2018.

By the numbers: As of Aug. 2, 85 publicly traded health care companies have amassed $47 billion of global profit on $545 billion of global revenue in the second quarter, according to company documents.

  • That profit is higher than the $45.6 billion that 118 health care companies posted in the first quarter of this year, and it's higher than anything recorded in the past year.
  • Pharmaceutical companies continue to rake in the highest profit margins.
  • The numbers do not include not-for-profit hospital systems, which have not filed second-quarter reports yet.
  • Fatter profits are due in part to growing sales of prescription drugs, medical devices, tests and procedures — that reflects both higher prices and more quantities sold.
  • But the larger earnings also stemmed from Republicans' massive cut in corporate taxes. The income tax expense for drug giant AbbVie, for example, was 93% lower in the second quarter this year.

Go deeper: Check out the entire Axios health care earnings tracker.