You might have thought a global pandemic, with its delays in elective care, declines in visits to doctors and big drops in vaccination rates, might be bad for the health care industry's bottom line.
- You'd have been wrong, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Driving the news: Even after excluding one-time deals, the industry is posting profits that are above historic norms.
Pharmaceutical companies: Drug sales fell across many companies, but cutting administrative and research costs kept earnings at industry highs.
- Nine of the 10 biggest profit margins recorded as of July 31 belonged to drug companies.
Hospitals: HCA Healthcare, Universal Health Services and Community Health Systems all posted profits well above expectations — which surprised Wall Street, considering hospitals halted elective procedures for more than a month.
- Baptist Health, a not-for-profit hospital system headquartered in Kentucky, "does not foresee a need for additional forms of liquidity" because it has 241 days of cash on hand, the eight-hospital system told bondholders last week.
Health insurers: UnitedHealth Group had a record-breaking quarter. Anthem, Cigna and others similarly posted significantly higher earnings than last year.
- This was entirely expected. Insurance premiums were still rolling in, but people didn't go to their doctor or hospital as often because of stay-at-home orders.
The losers: Medical device manufacturers like Boston Scientific, Stryker and Edwards Lifesciences all lost money in the second quarter.
- But those companies' stock prices have risen anyway, because surgeries that involve their devices have picked back up.
The bottom line: Just like Big Tech, the pandemic has not significantly stunted the economic and political strength of the health care industry.
Go deeper: Follow our health care earnings tracker