Perspectives Blog

The importance of being transparent

Harlan Sonderling, CFA, Senior Healthcare Analyst | December 2, 2013

Transparency is emerging as a powerful force in improving healthcare outcomes and increasing access to care. The growth of consumer financial responsibility is now estimated at 41% for large corporate plans. Consumer education has never been more important in healthcare than now. President James A. Garfield survived an assassin’s bullet in 1881, only to die several months later of complications from the infection that developed from his doctor…

Specialty pharmaceuticals – The fastest growing category of healthcare spending

Harlan Sonderling, CFA, Senior Healthcare Analyst | January 27, 2014

A complex industry has developed to manage the delivery and costs of the therapeutic innovations in specialty pharma Healthcare payers are focused on managing specialty pharma spending, their most rapidly growing medical cost The accelerating pace of change and disruptive therapeutic advances create significant opportunities across healthcare delivery Pharmaceuticals are central to the effort to improve medical outcomes and control medical cos…

M&A in healthcare – Out with the old, in with the new?

Harlan Sonderling, CFA, Senior Healthcare Analyst | March 31, 2014

Recently the market has been quite optimistic about merger synergy promises. History suggests investors should be diligent about analyzing acquirers’ claims around merger benefits and returns. While attractive acquisitions may lie ahead, it is critical to continue to carefully evaluate acquirers’ strategies and claims. The “old” healthcare M&A In the “old days,” pharmaceutical Company A would announce its acquisition of Company B for stock…

Obamacare’s insurance exchanges

Columbia Management, Investment Team | December 9, 2013

Enrollment is low There is still confusion around plans Where do we go from here?’s performance has improved since its re-launch last week, but capacity and communications problems will persist. Through October, the reported number of enrollees in federal and state-run health insurance exchanges remains meaningfully below initial targets. The federal government is running the insurance exchanges for many Republican-led states th…

Predicting new drug sales is more art than science

Harlan Sonderling, CFA, Senior Healthcare Analyst | April 14, 2014

…aunch environment. Can the quality of commercial sales predictions improve? Despite analysts’ research tools and experience, history suggests new drug forecasting will remain more art than science. At Columbia Management, our healthcare team’s analysis involves using probability-adjusted therapeutic category and drug class forecasts and responding more quickly than in the past to initial launch data. Our “art” lies in our mix of science and busin…

Labor markets in the new digital age

Columbia Management, Investment Team | April 14, 2014

…s. Most at risk are those who perform routine knowledge work and cognitive tasks. This touches on diverse industries such as publishing, wholesale/retail trade, finance and bookkeeping, office and administrative, and law—even healthcare and transportation will not be immune. From pattern recognition software to driverless cars and artificial intelligence, this new industrial revolution is more digital and less mechanical, likely requiring fewer c…

Steady as she goes

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | April 7, 2014

…o weather, but I would point to payback from the inventory swing. Gains were at or slightly above trend in professional/business services with about half from temporary jobs. Solid gains were seen in retail, construction, and healthcare. Leisure and hospitality was a little light, with restaurant hiring strong—indicative of a pickup in part-time jobs. Public sector continues to be a drag with cuts at both federal and state & local government….