The end of November is certainly a time set aside for giving thanks. Many of us are thankful for our family and friends. But there are so many others out there -- healthcare workers and caregivers -- dedicating their lives to serving and enhancing the health of others. There are also pharmaceutical companies like Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), or medical device companies like Dexcom (NASDAQ:DXCM), and other healthcare entities doing 'heroic' advances in the industry, tirelessly working day in, day out with the noble mission of finding treatment for HIV or different forms of cancer.  

This holiday, we're thankful for innovation, passion, and greater purpose in the healthcare sector.

A full transcript follows the video.


Kristine Harjes: Giving thanks, healthcare style. This is Industry Focus.

Hi everyone, welcome to Industry Focus. I'm Kristine Harjes and I am thankful to be joined by Todd Campbell. We're recording this episode a little bit in advance, but Thanksgiving is still less than a week away. By the time you listeners are hearing this, you'll probably be practically smelling the turkey.

I know, I for one am very thankful for being able to take a few days off to spend with my family, eat some great food, and hopefully come out of it with some amazing leftovers.

How about you Todd? What are you feeling thankful for?

Todd Campbell: Oh definitely anticipating those leftovers without a doubt.

Harjes: It's so funny how that's like kind of the best part.

Campbell: Oh, I know. There's nothing better than that big bulky sandwich the day after Thanksgiving.

Harjes: Yeah just oozing gravy and stuffing. Oh my, I can't wait.

Campbell: Yeah well in addition to the leftovers there's a few things that I'm thankful for healthcare-style. Of course one of them is the great team that we have here at the Motley Fool. You know, I've been in the business a long time and you guys, what we do here on the program is wonderful. And it's great having a wonderful teammate like you too Kristine.

Harjes: Aw thanks, Todd. Yeah I'm so thankful that I get to talk to you and do this show every week. And even everybody that I get to work with at this company, you know from the writers, to the tech people that put on these shows. It's a really great place and I just say, I'm also thankful to work for a place that I can really get behind the mission.

I mean the Motley Fool, everybody here wants to help the world invest better. And that is such a beautiful thing that I can be in a place that believes in this wholeheartedly, and everybody is so wicked smart and applying themselves to that mission. So cool. I'm thankful for that.

Campbell: Absolutely. We started off today's episode by saying that we wanted to approach this with giving thanks healthcare style. In preparation for filming today and recording this episode, I started spending a lot of time thinking about what it is that's happening in healthcare that I'm really thankful for.

And you know, one of the things that jumps to the top of my mind is how thankful I am that there are so many doctors and nurses and caregivers that are out there working tirelessly day in and day out to help patients understand their disease, figure out their treatment options, and you know, deal with the side effects that often can come with those treatment options.

And it doesn't matter if it's a surgeon that's helping out a patient at a major hospital or if it's the nurse practitioner that's helping out people at the CVS' (NYSE:CVS) Minute Clinics. These people are a godsend if you will. And our lives are certainly better off having them as a part of them.

Harjes: Yeah everybody working in the industry is a superhero and I'm certainly thankful for how hard all of our doctors work and everybody. You know, like you said, it doesn't matter if you are a surgeon or if you're the person at the CVS Minute Clinic. These people in the healthcare industry are working tirelessly and we're all so much better off for it.

It goes beyond just the interaction between patients and their caregivers too. It goes all the way toward the drug developers, the people who run the insurance companies, it's a huge, huge industry and I like to think it's one where everybody can really believe in the mission of health. I mean that's something we can get behind and so I'm definitely thankful for the passion that everybody working in the industry has.

Campbell: Right. We mentioned CVS and Minute Clinics and just go back to what you just said about if your focus is on health first, it's like anything else, right? I suppose if you love what you do, you will succeed, right? So at CVS health, I mean not only are they making healthcare more affordable to everybody and accessible to everybody by opening up clinics in their stores right down the street, but you know, their decision to stop selling tobacco and put I guess patient health before profit. You know, they gave up $2 billion in sales in that decision.

Harjes: Yeah we look into it and we try to financially justify it because we're investors, but what it comes down to is just mission alignment. That's what it is.

Campbell: Yeah. I mean it's that kind of thoughtfulness and I guess innovation the way that they approach their businesses that make us thankful not only as patients, people, but also as investors. The Motley Fool is helping everyone come up with new ways of approaching their investment portfolios figuring out what kind of companies they want to own. And certainly if you're putting your mission first, I think you have a much better likelihood of succeeding long-term.

It doesn't matter if you're talking about a company like CVS and what they're doing on affordability, accessibility, it also applies to drug makers and what they're doing as far as coming up with truly game changing new medicines.

Harjes: Yeah I mean you mention the word innovation and that's at the heart of it. Oh my gosh, there are so many drug makers and they're taking a lot of heat lately. But truly they are revolutionizing patient care. It's amazing.

Campbell: I think we forget sometimes each one of these companies there's this team of scientists -- people just like everyone else -- who day in and day out are doing the hard work of digging into understanding the body's anatomy and how it will react to different medicines and creating those medicines that can truly help us live longer, healthier lives.

Look what's been accomplished at Gilead Sciences in the past decade in both HIV and Hepatitis C. You know, HIV is no longer the death sentence that it once was. Now people are living long, healthier lives because of treatments that have come out of Gilead Sciences. In Hepatitis C these have created what amounts to a functional cure for a disease that no cure had previously existed for.

Harjes: Yeah indeed. I mean and not only is it a cure, but the patient experience when you're going through Hepatitis C treatment, is so, so much better than the older generation of treatments.

Campbell: Yeah 90% plus curates, easier to tolerate dosing regimens. I mean these are things that again, putting people first turns into a good -- it's just good business overall.

Harjes: Yeah. So there are so many examples that we could touch on with drug makers, but let's not forget about medical device makers too. I mean there's been some really great innovations there. Todd can you think of any particular ones that you would say you're thankful for that innovation?

Campbell: I know, and I'm sure you do too, a lot of people have diabetes. And you know one of the things that I've spent a lot of time, and we've touched upon past in the show, is a company called Dexcom. And what Dexcom is doing is they're developing new ways to better track and report sugar levels in patients so that they can control those blood sugar levels and hopefully delay the progression of their disease so that they are living longer, healthier lives.

So yeah, I mean like you said, it's not just the drug makers who are innovating in these ways. It's also med tech companies like Dexcom that are improving patient lives.

Harjes: Yeah Dexcom was a great example to use right there. I mean they are making a continuous glucose monitoring device so that you're not just getting a reading here and there and trying to manage your disease in a spotty sort of way. But it really is continual. It's a way of looking at your glucose levels and being able to really understand what's going on with your body. So that hopefully you can better manage your disease.

And there's so much that goes into treating diabetes and it's awesome to see that there's so many different companies approaching the disease and trying to make the patient burden a little bit lighter.

Campbell: These are all chronic diseases that were, we need to make big inroads on over the next 30 years. Millions and millions of people are going to be suffering from heart disease, diabetes, various other conditions, Alzheimer's, and we need to continue to I guess move the ball forward and make sure that we've got that long-term focus. How are we going to address this problem in the long-term?

And when you start thinking long-term it makes me think of other things that I'm thankful for in lessons that I've learned over my career or have been taught in my career not only by mentors but also by my family. I mean my father is a former banker and at an early age he taught me the value of saving, dollar-cost averaging, and now those lessons today are helping ensure my family's financial security.

Harjes: That's amazing. Yeah I mean family is at the heart of everything. I mean I can also look at my parents and immediately see how they've helped me become who I am today as a person and also financially.

Just to keep somewhat on-topic, I mean I would give the shout-out to my father for teaching me how to have an eye for detail and how to work with numbers from a young age. And my mother is the one that got me interested in healthcare to begin with. She's always worked in healthcare and she's always been a model for me for taking care of yourself and just how important health is.

So the combination there, it's pretty easy to see how I ended up doing what I'm doing right now -- applying numbers and analysis to the world of healthcare.

Campbell: Right, being able to take the lessons that we learned early on. I suppose this is something that I know that I'm sharing it now with my children. It's a generational thing. Earlier, and earlier, and earlier you're educating them about these things that could have a big impact on their lives. And you know, I look at it, I said, "Yeah, if you start earlier, start investing continuously. Look what I've done, and if you even start earlier than I did, look where you could be financially when it gets to that point when you're retiring."

My mother, she was a social scientist so she taught me a lot about how to handle and deal with emotion. And you know, one thing that I think that investors are always dealing with is, "How do I balance the emotional reaction that I get when I see something come across my newsfeed versus my long-term investing thesis?"

So all of those skills that they taught me, I appreciate and value and I'm thankful for as well.

Harjes: Yeah, I think we can both say that we're so thankful for all the people in our lives who have shaped us and taught us so many amazing things.

And I would be remiss if I didn't throw a shout-out to those that are working behind the scenes to put this podcast together. So thank you to Austin, just gave him a wave out there. He does all of our taping. Danny who does the behind-the-scenes on the episodes. There are so many other people that come together to make this show what it is. Todd, thank you for doing this every week with me. I have learned so much from you and we always have such a good time.

Campbell: It's wonderful and something I look forward to every week and hopefully so do the people who are turning in.

Harjes: Yeah and speaking of, thank you so much to our listeners. I mean this podcast would be all for nothing without those of you who tune in every week.

Send us your questions and comments at You guys are the reason that we come together to put this show on. So thanks to you guys and I hope everybody has a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Kristine Harjes owns shares of Gilead Sciences. Todd Campbell owns shares of Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health. 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.