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Brand-name pharmaceutical companies and health insurers increased their profits in the second quarter of this year, while hospitals and drug distributors had a more difficult run, according to a review of financial documents for 58 publicly traded health care companies.

Between the lines: Drug companies continue to raise their list prices for branded drugs despite the public furor, so they naturally maintained their status as the most profitable sector in health care. Insurers also collected higher profits because fewer people are going to the hospital or doctor, which results in more money staying in their pockets.

Expand chart
Data: Securities and Exchange Commission filings; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios
  • Thirteen companies recorded net profit margins of at least 17% in the second quarter of this year, and almost all of those margins were higher when compared with the same period of 2016. Of those 13 companies, 12 were pharmaceutical firms. Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of pricey hepatitis C and HIV drugs, had the largest profit margin at 43%.
  • The big five health insurers — Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group — each scored higher second-quarter profit margins compared with 2016. Cigna's was the highest at 7.9%.
  • The second quarter was extremely tight for AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, the three dominant drug distributors. All of their profit margins dipped below 1% due to falling generic drug prices.

Go deeper

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.