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    Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Sovaldi was a real breakthrough in the fight against the chronic liver disease hepatitis C (HCV). The condition may show no symptoms for years after initial infection but can slowly become debilitating.

    Hepatitis C affects as many as 200 million people worldwide, and before Sovaldi, the approved drug regimen could treat only about 50% of cases and could cause serious side effects. Treatment was generally long - 24 to 48 weeks - and arduous.

    Sovaldi, on the other hand, could cure more than 90% of cases in a matter of weeks at a cost, in the United States, of around $94,000. The pricing caused controversy, but the drug proved transformative for HCV patients, their families, and doctors.

    Sovaldi also proved a huge windfall for investors when it received FDA approval in 2013 and entered the pharmaceutical marketplace the following year.

    So far, Gilead shareholders have seen a 2:1 split, several dividend payouts, and gains of more than 155% since 2013. Sales of Sovaldi and Gilead's other HCV drug, Harvoni, topped $12.5 billion in 2015 alone.

    There's just one big, expensive problem...

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Here’s How Investors Get Tricked into Buying Companies Like Valeant

Valeant

While half the trick of investing is figuring out what the consensus thinks, the wisdom of crowds is a myth when it comes to the markets.

Case in point, Valeant Pharmaceuticals has cratered since October 2015, but many investors cling to the belief that the company's problems will be solved.

Some hedge funds have (or had until the stock collapsed) as much as 20% to 30% of their capital in the company, which is extraordinarily reckless.

But it's all in the numbers. The masses are missing these figures, but you don't have to...

Pharmaceutical Companies Hike Prescription Prices 76% Since 2010

pharma companies

Pharmaceutical companies have been raising the price of prescription drugs at an alarming rate since 2010.

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the 30 highest-selling drugs in the United States saw their prices increase roughly 76% from 2010 through 2014.

And as they've raised prices, their profits have soared...

$30 Billion Deal Between Top Pharmaceutical Companies Is a Major Buy Signal

Biotech Investing

Another possible deal between two of the world's top pharmaceutical companies was announced this week when Shire Plc. (Nasdaq: SHPG) made an unsolicited offer of $30.6 billion for Baxalta Inc. (NYSE: BXLT).

Money Morning Defense & Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson has been following this trend since 2014. He knew the world's top pharmaceutical companies would continue their M&A binge, and he recommended an investment to play that wave.

Robinson's pick has already climbed 17.6% this year and still has plenty of room to run...

Why Pharmaceutical Stocks Are Crushing the Market [Chart]

Biotech Investing

Pharmaceutical stocks have crushed the broader markets in 2015.

The S&P Pharmaceuticals Select Industry Index has climbed 20.9% year to date. In the last 12 months, the index has climbed 42.5%.

Here's how that compares to the broader markets...

The 5 Top Pharma Companies Behind the World's Most Expensive Drugs

top pharma companies

The world's top pharma companies bring in billions in revenue every year, sometimes from only a few products.

That's the case with each of these top pharma companies. This chart shows the most expensive prescription drugs in the world. The most expensive drug, Soliris, costs each patient $409,500 every year.

Here are the seven most expensive drugs in the world:

This Merger of Top Pharmaceutical Companies Is a Major Profit Opportunity

top pharmaceutical companies

Two top pharmaceutical companies announced a merger this morning, continuing 2015's massive run of M&A activity.

Botox maker Allergan Plc. (NYSE: AGN) announced today that it will purchase Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: KYTH) for $2.1 billion. That values KYTH shares at $75 each - 24% higher than Tuesday's closing price.

The move highlights one of our favorite profit plays of 2015. It's up 16.7% already and has plenty of room to run...

Complete List of Pharmaceutical Companies with the Highest Revenue

list of pharmaceutical companies

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most profitable sectors in the world.

More than $978 billion was spent on prescription drugs in 2014, according to a report from ExpressScripts. That was a 13.1% jump from 2013.

And the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry are bringing in billions annually. Here's the complete list of pharmaceutical companies by revenue in 2014...

This Pharmaceutical Industry Investment Plays a $166 Billion Trend

pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry saw record-setting M&A activity in the first quarter of 2015.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the "life sciences" field had 35 deals in Q1 2015. Those deals totaled $166.3 billion. That's more money than was spent during the entire year in 2014, when $150.1 billion was spent. In Q1 2014, just $46.5 billion was spent.

Money Morning's Defense and Tech Specialist Michael Robinson has been recommending a way to profit from the M&A boom throughout 2015.

His pick has already climbed 12% in 2015, compared to just 2% for the Dow Jones. Here's why it will continue bringing profits in 2015...

Where a Teva-Mylan Deal Would Rank Among Big Pharma Companies

big pharma companies

Two big pharma companies are in merger talks this week. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) announced Tuesday it's making a $40 billion bid for Mylan NV (Nasdaq: MYL).

Combined, the two firms would have revenue near $28 billion. That would make the company the ninth-largest pharmaceutical company in the world based on revenue.

Here's a look at the top 10 big pharma companies globally...

These Pharmaceutical Stocks Let You Tap into a $402 Billion Trend

pharmaceutical stocks

A sector of the pharmaceutical market known as "high-margin specialty drugs" is presenting us with the best pharmaceutical stocks to buy now.

According to experts at PricewaterhouseCoopers, consumer spending on high-margin specialty drugs hit $87.1 billion in 2012. In five years that number will quadruple to $401.7 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reports that total U.S. prescription drug spending was just $325.7 billion in 2012.

And those aren't the only alarming growth numbers boosting pharma stocks now...

This Blockbuster Drug Has Room to Run

biotech stocks

Editor's Note: We're sharing this Private Briefing with you because it contains a pick that's put Bill's readers up as much as 444% since he first recommended the stock...

Shares of blood-cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics Inc. rocketed as much as 22% last Tuesday after the company exhilarated investors by forecasting that sales of its key drug would double this year.

We weren't surprised by this, of course.

But even more important was that Private Briefing readers weren't, either.

In a Private Briefing report back in early December, we said the Pharmacyclics blood-cancer drug Imbruvica (ibrutinib) was well on its way to becoming the blockbuster we predicted when we first recommended shares of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based biotech back in April 2012.

That "call" was right on target.

Late last Monday, after the close of trading, Pharmacyclics said net-product revenue for Imbruvica for full-year 2014 would come in at $492 million. That would include sales of about $185 million in the fourth quarter alone - a hefty "sequential" (quarter-to-quarter) jump of 31%.

But here's the real stunner: For 2015, the company is looking at sales to more than double and reach $1 billion.

For those who want the actual numbers, that's a gain of 103%.

Imbruvica, you see, is shaping up to be the very blockbuster we told you it would be.
And that bodes well for Pharmacyclics shares.

Let's take a look...

5 Pharmaceutical Stocks to Avoid

pharmaceutical stocks

Pharmaceutical stocks can plummet for myriad reasons: loss of funding, lawsuits, poor clinical trials.

It's a risky sector to get yourself involved in - one with big rewards. But, where there are big rewards, there are also big losses.

We took a look at five pharmaceutical stocks you should avoid...

These Pharma Companies Stand Between Us and the "Bacterial Apocalypse"

pharmaceutical stocks

Antibiotic-resistant microorganisms are turning into a national medical nightmare, and the need for new, more effective medications to treat them has reached critical mass.

In response, the U.S. government and the pharmaceutical industry are joining forces to handle the crisis - and extraordinary opportunities are beckoning the savvy investor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the U.S. alone, antibiotic-resistant bacteria make 2 million people sick and 23,000 die each year.

Estimates of the annual cost to the economy range up to $35 billion in excess medical expenses and another $35 billion in lost productivity.

It's a problem that isn't going away. In fact, it's getting worse...

Six Pharmaceutical Stocks That Outperformed the Rest in 2014

pharmaceutical stocks

Pharmaceutical stocks soar when their companies receive FDA approval. The key to investing in the pharmaceutical sector is research: you've got to know when, how and if the company you like will profit.

That's why we've compiled a list of the leading pharmaceutical stocks around.

Have a look at these drug companies yielding impressive gains while they treat diseases...

Drug Stocks to Buy: New Statin Guidelines Are a Shot in the Arm for These Generics

O

They account for 264 million prescriptions annually in the U.S. alone, and $35 billion in annual global sales. Now doctors say these drugs could help treat an entirely different ailment, which affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. That means sales are about to skyrocket.

And just two drug companies will reap the lion's share of the profits...