The healthcare sector is a huge part of the economy and figures to grow in the US if nationalized health becomes reality. This sector is made up of many different industries: pharmaceuticals, biotech, hospital management, managed care, perscription services, medical devices and more. Given the breadth, demand and high cost of this near-monopolistic enterprise, it is surprising just how few of these industries grow in a sustainable fashion.
Worlwide, healthcare is always one of the biggest employers in every country. Often funded by the governments either overtly or systematically, many of these companies keep chugging along even after decades of flat sales. Just as a development becomes profitable, it is either cut from government rebates or there is a generic allowed to compete. Still, the sector is considered to be defensive because consumers have little control of the cost (except for cosmetic surgery) and it will not disappear in even the largest recessions.