Last week's Brexit vote sent shockwaves across stock markets around the world, causing many individual stocks to fall drastically. That's creating bargains for savvy investors who are willing to put money to work when market sentiment turns negative.
Below is a list of three high-quality healthcare stocks I think are compelling buys right now. Read on to see if you agree.
Lowering the cost of healthcare
Shares of CVS Health (CVS 1.08%) have trailed the market since the start of the year, which makes right now a good time to consider picking up a few shares.
The investment thesis for buying a few shares of this stock is pretty straightforward. Baby boomers are nearing retirement age, and this massive demographic shift is poised to drive up demand for healthcare. Because CVS Health operates the second-largest pharmacy benefits management business in the country and is the market share leader in the retail pharmacy space, it's well positioned to benefit from this tailwind.
That's particularly true when you consider CVS Health places a huge emphasis on finding ways to save its customers money. That fact is appreciated by governments, employers, consumers, and payers, which should keep demand for its services high for years to come.
So how does this company save its customers money? The company has two main strategies that it's deploying with great success.
The first is to use its immense buying power to negotiate favorable prices with drug manufacturers for its pharmacy benefits management customer. In addition, CVS Health helps these customers use generic drugs whenever possible, further turbo-charging their savings. Last quarter, generics made up more than 85% of the drugs CVS dispensed, and with more drugs losing patent protection each year, this number should continue ticking higher over time.
The other strategy is the continued rollout of CVS' in-store MinuteClinics, which offer patients low-cost and convenient access to basic medical services. These clinics keep patients out of the ER or their doctor's office whenever they have a minor medical issue, leading to huge cost savings for both consumers and payers.
Another big benefit of these two growth avenues is that they cannot be disrupted by e-commerce players. That makes CVS Health a retail stock that's very well insulated from online competition like Amazon.
In total, CVS Health has a protected business that is poised for dependable long-term growth. Add in the fact this CVS' management team is shareholder-friendly, and I think CVS Health should be a great investment from today's prices.
This fast grower is on sale
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN 2.25%) continues to grow rapidly, but that fact hasn't benefited its investors this year. Shares have dropped more than 36% since the calendar turned to January, which badly trails the market's returns.
Traders seem to be reacting harshly to a handful of recent developments. First, the company has forecast a deceleration in growth of Eylea, its best-selling drug that treats wet age-related macular degeneration. Second, its new cholesterol-busting medicine Praluent is off to a slow start since launching less than a year ago. Finally, it lost a lawsuit filed by competitor Amgen that threatens to pull Praluent off the market entirely.
How could I possibly be bullish in the face of all of this negative news?
First, Eylea's sales growth rate is slowing, but a little perspective here is warranted. In the first quarter, Eylea's growth was 44% in the U.S., and for the full year, management expects growth to land between 20% and 25%. That's down from last year's growth rate, but it's still an impressive figure for a multibillion-dollar drug.
Second, Praluent is off to a slow start, but that's likely because physicians are waiting for data from its ongoing cardiovascular outcomes study. This data should be available within the next few quarters, and if it shows that Praluent reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke, then sales will really take off. In addition, I think Amgen's efforts to remove the drug from market are unlikely to work, and a more probable outcome is that Regeneron has to pay a royalty on future sales.
Finally, Regeneron's future isn't just about Eylea and Praluent. It has two other potential blockbuster drugs in its pipeline that could be on the market in less than two years. The first is sarilumab, a drug that is pending approval as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Its PDUFA date of Oct. 30 is rapidly approaching, and news of an approval is a big catalyst for investors to look forward to. The second is dupilumab, a compound that's being researched as a treatment for eczema and moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. The data presented so far on this drugs looks great, and the company has announced plans to have this compound in the FDA's hands by next quarter.
In total, Regeneron could have four fast-growing blockbuster drugs on its hands in the not-too-distant future. With shares now trading for about 24 times next year's earnings estimates, I think this is a great growth stock to buy.
The future looks bright for this company
Another fast-growing healthcare company I think deserves a closer look by investors is Glaukos Corp. (GKOS 2.77%), a medical-device company focused on treating glaucoma.
This company first hit the public markets about a year ago, and its stock hasn't moved much since. However, what we've seen so far from this company has left me impressed, and I think it could be on the verge of making a strong run from here.
Glaucoma affects more than 78 million people worldwide and is the second-leading cause of blindness. To help treat this irreversible condition, Glaukos has developed a miniature bypass stent that is placed in the eye during cataract surgery. This device is called the iStent, and it helps to release intra-ocular pressure caused by the disease.
The iStent appears to be a big hit with both patients and providers. Last quarter, Glaukos stunned the markets when it reported a surprise profit. Revenue soared by more than 57% year over year, and the company's gross margins jumped by 500 basis points, coming in at a strong 86%.
The better-than-expected results caused management to bump its full-year sales guidance range to $100 million-$102 million, which is quite a bit higher than the $92 million analysts were expecting at the time.
Glaukos' iStent system looks poised for continued rapid growth because it spent the time to get payers on board. Consumers can now get reimbursement from the majority of private payers and Medicare, too, allowing the company to focus its attention on raising awareness of the device.
The iStent holds big potential overseas, and the company recently set up shop in both Australia and Canada. The iStent system already has regulatory approval in both markets, and a number of other countries like Mexico, Chile, and Japan could come online once reimbursement is established.
If Glaukos can continue to roll out the iStent at a blistering pace, then the company's stock could easily a strong upward move from here. Now that reimbursement is no longer a barrier, I think the company stands a good chance of doing just that, so buying a few shares today could prove to be a profitable decision.