Many of us like to complain about the companies involved in the healthcare industry. In the wake of Thanksgiving, we're taking the opposite approach to discuss the benefits big companies in the sector have brought to the world.

Two such entities are Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) and Dexcom (NASDAQ:DXCM). The pair has released numerous innovative treatments over the past decade, and they aren't slowing down anytime soon.

This Thanksgiving, Motley Fool analyst Kristine Harjes and Fool contributor Todd Campbell give a shout-out to some of the industry's major innovators.  

A full transcript follows the video.


This podcast was recorded on 11/25/15.

Kristine Harjes: You mention the word "innovation," and that's at the heart of it. Oh my gosh, there are so many drugmakers and they're taking a lot of heat lately. But truly, they are revolutionizing patient care. It's amazing.

Todd 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 Science. 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 cure rates, 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 drugmakers, 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 drugmakers 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.