While there’s no doubt that healthcare stocks are a highly exciting field to invest in, its many niches are by no means easy to navigate: You have drug stocks, medical services provider stocks, health insurance stocks, and medical devices stocks – each with their own individual advantages and risks.
So, before you decide to invest, make sure to take your time to consider your decision. Below, you’ll find three important things to take into account when looking into the healthcare stocks you’re considering.
Look Into Competition and Political Climate
First off, make sure the company has a solid business plan in place – which is not only designed to grow the company quickly, but is also realistic in the long run. Are they scaling at a reasonable pace that allows them to keep up development- and quality-wise? Who are their competitors, and are any of them gearing up to overtake them by offering a more advanced product, better prices, etc.?
People have gotten used to a wildly accelerated pace of development in the healthcare industry, making competition steeper than ever. Thus, with companies constantly one-upping one another, it’s easy to get caught up in hyping up a product – only for another company to offer a more advanced option that makes much more sense in the long run shortly thereafter.
During your research, you should also pay special attention to the political climate of the healthcare sector in the company’s target country or region. For instance, in the US, the cost of healthcare continues to climb right alongside patient dissatisfaction. This situation has been described as unsustainable by publications such as Forbes, leading many to believe regulatory changes are on the horizon – which could affect the value of any stocks you invest in right now.
Is It a Good Idea in the Long Run?
Another thing you should look into before investing in a company is whether growth is actually sustainable in the long run. Sure, the pitch might sound revolutionary, and the company might even have convinced a list of high-profile investors. But drug tests are notoriously unpredictable, and fine-tuning the product can take much longer (and be way more costly) than first estimated – plus, some founders are shockingly unrealistic about the potential of their product.
For instance, blood diagnostics is a tricky field, which requires years of expertise and thorough testing before systems can be safely used on patients. Thus, investors should always wait until they’ve seen proven results and documentation of claims – e.g. what blood diagnostics company Boule presents on their website, boule.com.
However, when 19-year-old Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes claimed to have developed revolutionary, hyper-accurate testing technology requiring only minuscule amounts of blood, investors and healthcare professionals hailed her as a genius – only for it to be revealed that her devices couldn’t actually do what was claimed. Suffice it to say, investors in this company lost a lot of money on their lack of skepticism.
Are Healthcare Stocks Your Best Option?
Lastly, technology has never moved faster than it is right now, and predicting what will turn out to be the next important step is almost impossible. For instance, 3D printers were considered a fun, but still rather primitive gadget only a few years ago – but today, innovation has skyrocketed, and businesses of several early pioneers are thriving.
Likewise, many exciting technologies are currently under development in the healthcare sector, and telling how they’ll transform the industry in the future is anyone’s guess. So, if you’re squeamish about investing in less than absolutely certain successes – or still new to stock trading in general – stocks in small, individual healthcare startups might not be the best choice for you.
Instead, sticking to bigger, more established companies, ETFs or index funds will give you a bit more security. Then, once you get more experience, you can start taking more calculated risks.