Historic Flu Season Driving Sales Across the Healthcare Industry

Bloomberg reports that a historically bad flu season has sent Americans to the doctor in droves -- and given a boost to companies across the healthcare business.

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The report shares that the hospitalization rates for the flu have reached record levels, and the rapid spread of the illness is worrisome, with a higher-than-normal number of deaths related to flu and pneumonia, including 53 children.

For care providers and other companies all along the pharmaceutical supply chain, it has led to higher revenue from increasing hospital visits and drug sales, states Bloomberg News.

This year’s flu vaccine has been unusually ineffective, and the season has shown no sign of subsiding. 

Distributors such as McKesson Corp., which move medications from the factory to the pharmacy, and drug retailers including CVS Health Corp., which have seen more consumers pick up prescriptions, have seen an increase of revenue. Bloomberg notes that laboratory companies such as Quest Diagnostics Inc. are also receiving a boost as more sick patients are being sent by their doctors for tests and blood work.

The report notes that the effects are unlikely to ebb soon. More than 7 percent of people in the U.S. who visited a health-care provider during the week ending Jan. 27 went due to flu-like illness, a weekly level not seen since the 2009 swine-flu pandemic.

On Feb. 8, CVS said its operating profit for the first quarter will be better than previously projected as it fills more prescriptions for flu treatments.

The hospital business, which has been struggling in the face of competition from walk-in clinics and other outpatient treatment options, has also been granted a temporary reprieve from its longer-term decline by the flu.

For more on this story, visit Bloomberg.com.

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