Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck are part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index, and Merck has been the best health-care performer so far in 2012. Its year-to-date 18% share price appreciation beats out its rival drug makers, and even the Dow's collective 11% rise.

In the video below, healthcare bureau chief Brenton Flynn and analyst Max Macaluso discuss the driving force behind Merck's recent success, a few things that investors should be watching in upcoming quarters, and the German drugmaker that shares Merck's name, but operates as a separate company.


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Brenton Flynn has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Max Macaluso has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.