Rob Black's Healthcare Stock Report

Includes: CI, GSK, NKTR
by: Rob Black
GlaxoSmithKline’s (NYSE:GSK) Avandia, used along with a healthy diet and exercise, may cut the risk of developing diabetes by two-thirds in patients in danger of getting the disease, a large clinical trial has shown. People with higher-than-normal blood sugar levels who took Avandia while eating well and working out cut their risk of developing diabetes by 62 percent, compared with those following the lifestyle recommendations and taking a placebo.

About 230 million people have diabetes and the number may exceed 350 million by 2025. This raises a broader question currently facing society: when and how broadly should early drug treatment be used as a preventative step in high-risk patients. Instances of the disease soar world-wide and put a major strain on health-care budgets. "If we can prevent diabetes, we may also be able to prevent the serious cardiovascular, eye, kidney, and other health consequences,'' said Dr. Hertzel Gerstein.

HealthSpring (NYSE:HS) filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission covering the public offering by certain stockholders of up to 9 million shares of common stock.

Cowen analysts said Nektar's (NASDAQ:NKTR) new inhaled insulin product, Exubera, should push shares of the stock higher. They noted that data presented this week at a diabetes conference were also positive, showing that Exubera users gained less weight than insulin users and that patients with upper respiratory infections can continue to use the product while they're sick.