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iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF (IYH)

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  • Apr. 22, 2014, 12:14 PM
    | Apr. 22, 2014, 12:14 PM | Comment!
  • Apr. 22, 2014, 11:33 AM
    • The FDA proposes an "Expedited Access PMA" (EAP) process for medical devices that treat or diagnose patients with serious conditions whose medical needs are unmet by current technology. The program features earlier and more interactive participation by agency staff to collaboratively develop a plan for the collection of the scientific and clinical data to support approval. The EAP aims to reduce certain devices' development times in addition to the expected shortened premarket review.
    • Eligible devices must fit the following profile: 1) be intended to treat or diagnose a life-threatening or irreversibly-debilitating disease or condition and 2) represent one of the following: no approved alternative treatment/diagnostic exists or it represents a breakthrough technology that provides a clinically meaningful advantage over existing technology or offers a significant clinically meaningful advantage over currently-available alternatives or the device's availability is in the patient's best interest.
    • The proposed EAP builds on the Expedited Access Program for pharmaceuticals that the FDA launched in 2011.
    • Draft guidance
    • Healthcare ETFs: IYH, IBB, XLV, XBI, VHT, BIB, PJP, BBH, FBT, PBE, XPH, CURE, FXH, IHE, RXL, IRY, IXJ, PPH, IHI, BIS, IHF, FHLC, XHS, PSCH, RYH, XHE, PTH, DRGS, RXD
    | Apr. 22, 2014, 11:33 AM | Comment!
  • Apr. 18, 2014, 4:03 AM
    • Eight million people have enrolled for health insurance under Obamacare, President Obama said yesterday, easily surpassing earlier projections by the Congressional Budget Office for 6-7M signups by the end of March.
    • The high number of enrollments was achieved despite the technical problems that the online exchanges suffered, particularly when the Affordable Care Act was launched last year.
    • Around 35% of those who purchased coverage were people under 35, who are thought to be less likely need to treatment and so can help balance the cost of claims for those who need care.
    • However, Obama didn't provide details about the number of enrollees who already had insurance before Obamacare was introduced.
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP,
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Apr. 18, 2014, 4:03 AM | 127 Comments
  • Apr. 17, 2014, 2:15 PM
    • Texas researchers predict that one in twenty or ~12M people in outpatient settings in the U.S. are misdiagnosed by doctors each year. About half could potentially harm patients.
    • They analyzed 3,000 patient records and found a misdiagnosis rate of 5%. Extrapolating the rate to the 80% of U.S. adults who receive outpatient medical care yields 12M people.
    • Faulty medical records and other potential flaws in the data could mean the real misdiagnosis rate is higher.
    • The study's lead author, Dr. Hardeep Singh of Baylor College of Medicine, hopes his team's findings give quality-of-care stakeholders a clearer sense of the problem.
    • ETFs: IYH, XLV, VHT, CURE, FXH, RXL, IRY, IXJ, IHF, FHLC, XHS, PSCH, RYH, PTH, RXD
    | Apr. 17, 2014, 2:15 PM | Comment!
  • Apr. 17, 2014, 1:49 PM
    | Apr. 17, 2014, 1:49 PM | 1 Comment
  • Apr. 17, 2014, 1:30 PM
    • Scientists create patient-specific cell lines from the skin cells of two adult men in a procedure called somatic cell nuclear transfer demonstrating that the technique can work for people of all ages. The embryonic cells are genetically identical to the donor and have profound therapeutic potential.
    • The cloning procedure is difficult, however. Only one in thirty-nine attempts was successful.
    • In therapeutic cloning, a jolt of electricity fuses a grown cell (e.g. skin cell) with an ovum whose DNA has been removed. After ~5 days of dividing and multiplying it develops into a hollow sphere-shaped embryo. The interior cells are pluripotent stem cells which can develop into many different kinds of cells. The goal is to coax them to develop into specialized cells for therapeutic purposes.
    • Complicating the ability to create patient-specific cell lines for millions of people are women's reticence over donating eggs, a sometimes painful process. Widespread donations may not be ultimately necessary since many people have genetically similar immune systems so 100 human embryonic stem cell lines would match over 50% of the U.S. population according to the co-author of the study, Dr. Robert Lanza.
    • Healthcare ETFs: IYH, IBB, XLV, XBI, VHT, BIB, PJP, BBH, FBT, PBE, XPH, CURE, FXH, IHE, RXL, IRY, IXJ, PPH, IHI, BIS, IHF, FHLC, XHS, PSCH, RYH, PTH, XHE, DRGS, RXD
    | Apr. 17, 2014, 1:30 PM | Comment!
  • Apr. 17, 2014, 8:04 AM
    • In a novel cancer study funded with $42M by Cancer Research UK, scientists will test up to 14 different cancer drugs at the same time within one clinical trial. The objective is to identify the most effective treatments for advanced lung cancer by targeting specific rare genetic mutations.
    • The new approach will select a range of drugs for a specific patient instead of designing a study around a specific drug. In a profound change it eliminates randomization, the hallmark of clinical trial design.
    • Some mutations occur on only 1% - 2% of patients so the traditional method of clinical trial design is too expensive, time-consuming and inefficient.
    • AstraZeneca (AZN) will supply up to twelve experimental drugs that will be given to patients who do not show one of twenty-one sets of genetic abnormalities.
    • Pfizer (PFE) will supply its lung cancer drug Xalkori plus the experimental breast cancer drug palbociclib.
    • About 15-20 patients will be involved in the trial. Those drugs that show no benefit will be quickly dropped while those showing efficacy will be fast-tracked into larger-scale testing.
    • Healthcare ETFs: IYH, IBB, XLV, XBI, BIB, VHT, PJP, BBH, FBT, PBE, XPH, CURE, FXH, IHE, RXL, PPH, BIS, FHLC, PSCH, RYH, PTH, DRGS, RXD
    | Apr. 17, 2014, 8:04 AM | Comment!
  • Apr. 17, 2014, 7:27 AM
    • In a breakthrough in fertilization research, scientists identify the surface proteins that enable a sperm cell and egg cell to fuse together to form an embryo.
    • Juno is the name given to the egg's protein and Izumo the sperm's.
    • Researchers are now screening infertile women to determine if the absence of Juno is the problem. Twenty percent of infertility cases are of unknown origin.
    • If the absence of Juno is, indeed, the cause of infertility then a simple diagnostic test can be developed to identify affected women.
    • A woman's Juno status will also guide fertility treatment by allowing in vitro fertilization specialists to proceed directly to intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
    • Researches identified Izumo in 2005 but couldn't identify Juno until recently.
    • Healthcare ETFs: IYH, XLV, VHT, CURE, FXH, RXL, IRY, IXJ, FHLC, PSCH, RYH, PTH, RXD
    | Apr. 17, 2014, 7:27 AM | Comment!
  • Apr. 16, 2014, 11:54 AM
    • The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act is on the November ballot in California. If voters approve the measure the state will institute random drug tests on physicians with hospital privileges and testing after an adverse event such as a preventable death.
    • A USA Today report finds that over 100K doctors abuse prescription drugs every year yet few are ever caught despite the risk to patients.
    • The California Medical Board estimates that 18% of physicians will have a substance abuse problem at some point in their careers and 1% - 2% abuse drugs and/or alcohol at any given time.
    • In 2008 the state scrubbed a failed substance abuse treatment program because it did not have a mechanism to detect doctors who continued to take drugs nor did it provide for disclosure to patients.
    • Healthcare ETFs: IYH, XLV, VHT, CURE, FXH, RXL, IHF, FHLC, XHS, PSCH, RYH, PTH, RXD
    | Apr. 16, 2014, 11:54 AM | Comment!
  • Apr. 16, 2014, 7:14 AM
    • Researchers in Boston find that casual pot use (one - seven joints a week) changes the size, shape and density of the nucleus accumbens and the nucleus amygdala, regions of the brain that regulate emotion and motivation.
    • More study is needed to determine the specific effects of the changes which appear different than the effects of consuming alcohol.
    • The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy partially funded the work.
    • Healthcare ETFs: IYH, XLV, VHT, CURE, FXH, RXL, IRY, IXJ, FHLC, PSCH, RYH, PTH, RXD
    | Apr. 16, 2014, 7:14 AM | 5 Comments
  • Apr. 11, 2014, 4:22 PM
    | Apr. 11, 2014, 4:22 PM | 1 Comment
  • Apr. 11, 2014, 12:13 PM
    • The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) takes exception to the way the EPA solicits volunteers for its air pollution experiments over the past 10 years. They assert that the agency fails to adequately inform sufferers of asthma, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and other maladies that the concentrated diesel exhaust and other pollutants they breathe in the experiments could cause them harm. Allegedly, agency researchers watch for serious events in the volunteers such as asthma attacks and heart attacks as part of their assessments of the deleterious effects of said pollutants.
    • The EPA calculates the risk of such events when exposed to much lower concentrations of the pollutants, multiplies the result by the U.S. population and then claims to save millions of lives.
    • The physicians group and some lawmakers accuse the EPA of spinning volunteers' participation as "making the world a better and healthier place" instead of fully informing them of the risks. They cite a 2011 Congressional hearing where EPA representative Lisa Jackson stated that inhaling particulate matter causes premature death.
    • ETFs: IYH, XLV, VHT, CURE, FXH, RXL, FHLC, PSCH, RYH, PTH, RXD
    | Apr. 11, 2014, 12:13 PM | 12 Comments
  • Apr. 11, 2014, 4:01 AM
    • The White House has confirmed that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning and will be replaced by Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management & Budget, assuming the latter is confirmed by the Senate.
    • Sebelius' departure comes after she said in October that she should be held "accountable for the debacle" of the launch of Obamacare, although the program did reach the government's target of 7M sign-ups by the end of March. She said yesterday that at least 7.5M people have enrolled.
    • One of Burwell's first challenges will be to work with health insurers as they set prices for Obamacare plans in 2015, which industry executives have warned could rise sharply.
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MO
    • Hospital operators: HCA, CYH, THC, UHS, HMA, LPNT
    • Pharmacies: WAG, CVS, BIOS, RAD, MHS, PMC, OCR
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Apr. 11, 2014, 4:01 AM | 24 Comments
  • Apr. 9, 2014, 7:47 AM
    • People who bought Obamacare coverage early were more likely to receive treatments for pain, depression and HIV, a study by Express Scripts (ESRX) shows.
    • The data indicates that the early enrollees have more serious health problems and are older than people with employee plans.
    • However, the report doesn't cover those who signed up later, who tended to be younger and presumably healthier, according to anecdotal evidence.
    • More on Obamacare
    • Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MO
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Apr. 9, 2014, 7:47 AM | 11 Comments
  • Apr. 4, 2014, 1:12 PM
    | Apr. 4, 2014, 1:12 PM | 6 Comments
  • Apr. 2, 2014, 5:38 PM
    • Top gainers, as of 5:15 p.m.: IYH +5.0%. ACN +4.7%. EEFT +3.4%. EJ +3.2%. PXLW +3.1%.
    • Top losers, as of 5:15 p.m.: CACI -8.5%. KWK -7.5%. NEWM -7.0%. AXE -3.5%. BKS -3.2%.
    | Apr. 2, 2014, 5:38 PM | 5 Comments
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IYH Description
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare Sector Index Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of U.S. healthcare stocks, as represented by the Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index.
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Sector: Healthcare
Country: United States
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