Health-care Sector Taking a Broad Beating As Pricing Fears Grow

MarketWatch Pulse

The health-care sector was taking a broad beating in afternoon trade Tuesday, as concerns over drug pricing grew. The SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF , or "XLV," was down 2.3%. Among the XLV's most heavily-weighted members, the shares of Johnson & Johnson dropped 2.5%, of Pfizer fell 2.4% and of Merck & Co.'s slid 2.9%. Those stocks were also the worst three performers within the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday. Gilead Sciences' stock shed 3.3%. It plunged 14% on Monday, after the largest prescription-management company in the U.S., Express Scripts , dropped Gilead's Hepatitis C drug in favor a lower-priced drug from AbbVie . J.P. Morgan analyst Cory Kasimov said he had become increasingly concerned about the sustainability of branded drug pricing in the U.S. market, and Gilead's news "reinforce those fears above and beyond pricing pressures specifically related to [Gilead]." AbbVie's stock fell 3.8% while Express Scripts' shares rose 3.8%.

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