Biotechnology has been a difficult space to deploy capital over the previous ~18-24 months. This cohort plummeted over and over again from both sides of the political isle as the 2016 presidential race unfolded. Between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump taking aim at drug pricing via speeches, Twitter, and other social media platforms, largely attributed to the entire cohort selling off. The sustained sell-off lead to the entire cohort to sell off from all-time highs of $400 to $240 or 40% in only six months as measured via the iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB). From February of 2016 through June of 2017 IBB traded in a tight range from $250 to $300 while Donald Trump continually fired shots against the healthcare sector. Any healthcare related stocks became volatile on the heels of any statement or tweet from Donald Trump. Shortly after the inauguration, Trump stated that drug companies are “getting away with murder” when speaking to the drug pricing issue. Now he’s come out and stated that he’s working on a “new system where there will be competition in the drug industry.” Every time any of these remarks were tweeted, they immediately resulted in a downtrend across the entire biotech cohort. As the new proposed health care legislation enters its initial stages in Congress, a level of certainty has entered the picture, and the drug pricing threats are not perceived to be as bad as initially feared. Recently the index has had a resurgence moving from $284 to $321 or 13% over the past month. As the political headwinds continue to abate, I feel the index has room to continue its upward trend. Continue reading "IBB - Biotech Catches Fire... Finally"
Donald Trump is back at it again via Twitter and once again he has ignited the political tug-of-war between potential policy changes and Wall Street. The overall healthcare sector has become volatile on the heels of any statement or tweet from Donald Trump. Shortly after the inauguration, Trump held a press conference and stated that drug companies are “getting away with murder” when speaking to the drug pricing debate. Now he’s come out and stated that he’s working on a “new system where there will be competition in the drug industry.” Every time any of these remarks are tweeted, they immediately result in a downtrend across the entire biotech cohort, this time was no exception. The iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) traded down 1.7% or $5 per share once tweeted. The healthcare sector has been faced with an uncertain and volatile political backdrop. The overall healthcare umbrella has become sensitive to any tweet from President Trump as he vows to bring down drug prices. Although he’s pursuing his agenda against drug pricing, IBB has become resilient as many of these threats may have already been priced-in as seen in many healthcare-related stocks that have seen sharp and sustained sell-offs. Ostensibly, many of these stocks are trading at multiyear low P/E ratios and as a cohort (gauged via the IBB proxy) looks to be less sensitive to tweets/threats and continues to test the $300 barrier.
Figure 1 – IBB price activity and resilience over the previous 6 months with pronounced volatility that coincides with political rhetoric against drug pricing
The Drug Pricing Transparency Coalition
Many large-cap pharma companies have created an unofficial drug pricing coalition to provide transparency in an effort to separate themselves from a handful of egregious price increases to contend with Trump’s aim at the drug companies. Continue reading "IBB - The Political Tug-Of-War Rages On"
Will the confluence of abating political uncertainty, proposed self-regulation on drug price increases, potential merger and acquisition activity and chronically depressed valuations bode well for IBB in 2017? The biotech cohort saw a very tumultuous 2016 to say the least as the political backdrop, drug pricing debate and presidential election took the headlines. Biotech stocks responded erratically to any news that would have a perceived impact on the cohort during this timeframe. Since Donald Trump voiced his concerns over drug pricing, the initial rally in biotech has largely eroded to pre-election levels. The iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) traded in a wide range throughout 2016 with pronounced volatility throughout the presidential election cycle registering a range of ~$240 to $344 or a 104-point range (Figure 1). The upcoming 2017 year is shaping up to be an eventful one with continued uncertainty about the political climate, governmental stance on mergers and acquisitions and potential deregulation. Another hot button issue will be the potential restructuring of the Affordable Care Act and proposed favorable tax and repatriation rates. Continue reading "IBB Looks Ripe For A Turnaround In 2017"
Due to drug pricing controversies, there has been much concern about how the outcome of the upcoming election will affect pharmaceutical stocks. Dr. Len Yaffe of Stoc*Doc Partners sheds light on the issues in this analysis of drug price negotiation policy, and focuses in on one California ballot proposition that aims to rein in costs.
One issue of focus in the election rhetoric is Medicare drug price negotiation, which is specifically precluded in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Furthermore, a noninterference provision was included: Continue reading "Why The Election Is Not As Relevant To Drug Stocks As You Might Believe"