Thursday, February 12, 2009

Autism Stocks

Autism is considered to be a developmental disability that results from a disorder of the brain and central nervous system impairing social interaction, communication, and other activities. A U.S. court just ruled that autism is not connected to vaccines, saying that there is no scientific evidence that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism in children. In addition, some families sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan accusing them of discriminating against children with autism. With all the news about autism, investors are looking closely at the pharmaceutical stocks. There are several publicly traded pharmaceutical companies that make drugs for treating the autism related disorders and symptoms.

Risperidal, developed and distributed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of the New York Stock Exchange traded company Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), is an antipsychotic medication that is used in lower doses to treat autistic disorders and has FDA approval for use of the drug for symptomatic treatment of irritability in autistic children and teenagers, since 2006. The stock has a PE ratio of 13 and pays a yield of 3.2%.

Prozac, with the chemical name fluoxetine hydrochloride, is made by Eli Lilly and Company (LLY), also traded on the NYSE, and has been approved by the FDA for both obsessive compulsive disorder and depression in autistic children age 7 and older. The company recently generated negative earnings and pays a yield of 5.3%.

Ritalin and the time-release drug, Concerta, is a Methylphenidate drug which, although generally used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, and attention-deficit disorder, or ADD, has also been prescribed for children with autism. It is produced by the company Novartis AG (NVS), the ADR of which trades on the NYSE; however, the generic version of the drug far outsells Ritalin. The stock has a PE ratio of 12 and pays a yield of 4.1%.

Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a division of Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA), is a manufacturer of Adderall XR, an extended-release drug which is used to help with attention and focus problems, and behavior issues of individuals with autism. Teva has a PE of 19 and a yield of 0.9%.

Shire plc (SHPGY) makes Adderall XR, an extended-release version of the drug. The stock has a PE of 38 and a yield of 0.3%.

For an Excel database of drug stocks that can be downloaded, changed, and sorted, go to

Author has a nephew who is severely autistic and does not own any of the above stocks.

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