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New government projections call for health-care spending to rise steeply over the next decade. Investing pros say the forecasts particularly bode well for drug makers.

Health spending could account for roughly a fifth of gross domestic product by 2021, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That’s up from 18% in 2010. Most of that growth, however, has little do with President Obama’s health care reform, which – depending on what the Supreme Court decides – will go into effect in 2014. In fact, just 0.1 percentage point of the annual growth is expected to be directly attributable to the law.  Still, advisers say the overall increased spending presents opportunities for investors. “The pharmaceutical industry will probably see a pretty significant tail wind starting in 2014,” says Damien Conover, director of pharmaceutical research for Morningstar.

If the landmark health isn’t struck down by the Supreme Court, which begins reviewing the case later this month, many more Americans will gain access to health care through Medicaid or through subsidized insurance plans purchased on government-run exchanges. That could increase the number of Americans visiting the doctor and filling prescriptions, says Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, a physician and financial adviser in Jacksonville, Fla. “We could see an increase in the use of drugs for chronic problems,” says McClanahan, including treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma, which people might neglect if they don’t have health insurance. But even if the law is overturned this summer, Americans are expected to spend more on prescriptions, such as heart disease drugs, as more baby boomers age, says McClanahan. The companies best poised to benefit are those that get the majority of their revenue from medication and primarily serve the U.S., such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Merck, says Conover. Much of that spending could also go to generic drug companies, which are often used to treat such common conditions he says.

Investors can gain a stake in the market by investing in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that focus on pharmaceutical companies. For instance, the $703 million Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals fund (FPHAX), which is highly rated by fund researcher Lipper, lists pharmaceutical giants Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline among its top holdings. It also invests in the generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. The fund has returned 6.8% a year over the last five years and charges 0.88%, or $88 for every $10,000 invested. Another option, the $443 million SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals fund (XPH), includes pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which makes diabetes and cardiovascular medications among other drugs, in its top holdings. The fund has gained an average 10.8% a year over the past five years and charges 0.35%.

Of course, even if the Supreme Court supports health care reform this summer, Republicans are threatening to repeal the law, says McClanahan. And long-term government projections predict spending will increase at a slower pace in the years after the health care law is fully implemented. The drug companies also face challenges, particularly as patents expire on the some of the biggest selling drugs. For that reason, advisers warn against too much allocation to the sector. McClanahan recommends using a broad based index fund to get exposure to the health care sector while also staying diversified. For example, 12% of the S&P 500 stock-index is allocated to health care stocks.


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      Arizona-based networking company sues the tech giants for allegedly infringing on a patent related to document thumbnails used in operating systems. Read this article by Michelle Meyers on CNET News.
      Google, Microsoft, Apple sued over preview icons | Business Tech – CNET News
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      CNET News Business Tech Google, Microsoft, Apple sued over preview icons
      Google, Microsoft, Apple sued over preview icons Arizona-based networking company sues the tech giants for allegedly infringing on a patent related to document thumbnails used in operating systems. by Michelle Meyers December 26, 2008 4:40 PM PST
      This post was updated on January 5 and January 7 with corrected and updated information about the plaintiff company, an updated link to an amended filing, and a comment from Google. See bottom of post for correction.
      An Arizona-based networking company on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Google, Microsoft, and Apple, alleging that all three tech giants violated a patent it owns on the use of document-preview icons–or thumbnails–in operating systems.
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      McAndrews also clarified that Cygnus Systems was incorporated in Indiana, is now a one-man company, and no longer has a working Web site. Swartz, he added, now works for Ping Golf.
      Cygnus was granted the patent in March 2008, according to the lawsuit, although it first applied for it back in 2001 as a continuation to a 1998 application, according to Ars Technica, which appeared to report the case first.
      Cygnus is seeking damages and a permanent injunction to prevent further alleged infringement. It has also indicated that it might go after other companies as defendants. Correction: This post initially misstated the location of the plaintiff company and linked to a Web site for an unrelated Michigan networking and systems integration company with the same name. The plaintiff company has no live Web site, was incorporated in Indiana, and is now operated out of Arizona.
      Topics: Corporate & legal Tags: patents, lawsuits, thumbnails, OS, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Cygnus Systems Michelle Meyers Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she’s still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she’s not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she’s working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News’ home page. Don’t Miss QWERTY BlackBerry 10 phone will launch before June Mobile Want to see what the first GamePad looked like? Tech Culture Samsung Galaxy Axiom a GS3 mini me (pictures) Slideshow Atlantic Technology PB-235 PowerBar Review CNET Update YouTube gets channel-surfing makeover YouTube wants to be more like television, Foursquare adds events and Delta gets sued for its app. Play Video
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