Best healthcare stocks to buy in 2021

Healthcare stocks are traditionally defensive investments that make money in all economic environments. This guide picks out the best options and shows you how to get them.
By: James Knight
James Knight
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed,… read more.
Updated: Aug 13, 2021
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Here our experts choose their favourite healthcare stocks for you to invest in. From the old hand businesses that have been around for many years to the cool new kids on the block, this list contains the best of them all.

What are the top healthcare stocks to buy?

The table below displays our healthcare stock picks. You can find their most up to date market price by following the links, or keep reading to learn more about why each one was chosen in more detail.

#Stock tickerCompany name
1VEEVVeeva Systems
2JNJJohnson & Johnson
3ISRGIntuitive Surgical
4CLOVClover Health Investments
5MNMDMind Medicine
List selected by our team of analysts, updated 13th August 2021.

1. Veeva Systems (NYSE: VEEV)

Veeva is an American company that specialises in software for the healthcare industry. It helps companies track clinical trials, manage customer relationships, and generally be more efficient and provide a better service to their patients.

There are few other businesses that offer anything similar. With that first-mover advantage, Veeva has become a popular stock over the last couple of years. Its share price grew 150% in the year following the March 2020 coronavirus crash as it kept adding more big name clients to its roster of subscribers.

Veeva is top of this list because of both its unique offering and that subscription-based revenue stream. Not only does it keep adding new clients, it keeps the existing ones and regularly upsells them onto a bigger package. It has high profit margins and already counts the likes of Pfizer and AstraZeneca as clients, which bodes extremely well for the future.

2. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

On the other end of the scale, Johnson & Johnson is one of the grand old names of American healthcare. Founded in 1886, it’s one of the biggest companies in the US and one of the most valuable companies in the world.

J&J suits an investor who prefers long term reliability over a more risky growth profile. It has paid a dividend every year for half a century and is well established as the leader in American healthcare. It makes money from selling medicine, developing new drugs, and by designing medical devices.

That has helped it steadily increase its share price over many decades and there’s no reason to expect any faltering in performance. Even during difficult economic times, people still get sick and Johnson & Johnson has proven its ability to keep increasing its dividend regardless of the global situation.

3. Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG)

Intuitive Surgical is a US company that has helped to pioneer robotic surgery. It creates robotics systems known as the Da Vinci surgical system that automatically performs surgical procedures.

It has been one of the most popular stocks on the market since the coronavirus crash in March 2020. Technology stocks did well throughout the pandemic and as more people started to have surgery again as the worst of the crisis passed on, Intuitive’s stock took off, doubling in value over the course of the following year.

Along with the success of its technology so far, a big reason for its place on this list is the number of procedures that are possible with its Da Vinci system. There are more than six million surgeries every year that its robotics could be used for, which could be a major source of revenue in the not too distant future.

4. Clover Health Investments (NASDAQ: CLOV)

Clover Health is another US-based healthcare technology company. It uses data analysis to help patients and physicians develop personalised healthcare plans. It’s mainly targeted at older people and hopes to improve decision making and treatments.

Clover has only been a public company since the start of 2021 so there is limited stock performance to go on so far. What there has been is volatility, not least because the company is one of the stocks that came to the attention of retail traders on Reddit, leading to a 150% rise in value in the summer. 

It’s on this list because of the potential of using technology to create a more efficient healthcare system. Insurance is also a big money business in the United States and Clover has more than 100,000 patients under contract already. 

5. Mind Medicine (NASDAQ: MNMD)

As its name suggests, Mind Medicine is a company that focuses on mental health. Based in the United States, it is developing psychedelic and therapeutic treatments to address issues like anxiety and depression.

Mind Meidicne is another young company in stock market terms, having only been available to trade since 2020. It has yet to really take off, not least because its treatments are controversial – psychedelic treatments are not even legal in many countries – and it has lost a lot of money so far.

However, that’s quite normal for a modern biotech company. It’s more risky than the other companies on this list but it has a lot of potential if the treatments were to prove to work. The flag bearer for this form of healthcare company is Moderna, which returned losses for many years until its revolutionary new technology started producing results.

Where to buy the best healthcare shares

These platforms below are the best places to get stocks now. You can head to the website using the links in the table or read our reviews to learn more about each one.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Exclusive promotion
user-score
10
Trade/invest in stocks with just $50
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Description:
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform with more than 2000 assets, including FX, stocks, ETF’s, indices and commodities. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users. Buying stocks on eToro is free and you can invest with as little as $50.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. Your capital is at risk.
2
Min. Deposit
$1
Exclusive promotion
user-score
9.3
0 Commissions and no deposit minimums
Registered with and regulated by SEC and FINRA
Loss of cash protection
Start Trading
Description:
Financial company driven by technology and offering all-in-one self-directed investment platform that provides excellent user experience.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:

What is a healthcare stock?

Any company that’s involved in developing, buying, or selling medical products. The healthcare sector is extremely large and tends to be a good industry to own stocks in if you want to own companies that can perform even when the economic situation is tough.

Are healthcare shares a good investment?

The big names in healthcare have traditionally been good stocks to own. That means the likes of Johnson & Johnson, who usually pay handsome dividends and can balance your portfolio because they are less affected by the peaks and troughs of the economy.

However, these companies spend a lot of money on research and development. It’s a constant battle to stay ahead and to discover new treatments, which means that the newer breed of healthcare business that focuses exclusively on that tends to be more risky. They are more like tech stocks, which are high risk, high reward investments.

Ultimately, which type of healthcare stock you prefer is down to you. It might depend on the other companies you own, or you might want to take a bet on a particular treatment hitting it big. Either way, you should follow the latest news in order to stay ahead, as competitor treatments or new science can have a major impact on the stock price of everyone in the industry.

Latest healthcare news

Shares of TransCode Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: RNAZ) climbed by 65% on Thursday morning as the oncology company said in its press release that the preclinical research supporting its lead candidate, TTX-MC138, was published in Cancer Nanotechnology. CEO Michael Dudley’s remarks The preclinical study confirmed that intravenous injection of…
Shares of BeyondSpring Inc (NASDAQ: BYSI) gained more than 200% in August as the pharmaceutical company said its candidate drug (Plinabulin) improved life expectancy for patients with advanced lung cancer. This morning, however, the stock tanked over 25% as STAT (American health-oriented news website) published an article that…
Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) said on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech is just as effective in children (5- to-11-year-olds) as it was in adults. The Phase II and III clinical trials also established the vaccine as generally safe for children. The U.S. pharmaceutical…
Amidst growing concerns against the acquisition, it is learned that Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) has extended the deadline for remaining stakeholders to give up their shares, which will allow the deal to go through. The company has extended the deadline for holders to tender shares to 30 September. About the…

Fact-checking & references

Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.

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James Knight
Financial writer
When he isn’t at work, James is an avid trader and golfer who likes to travel. He once fed, rode, and ate an ostrich all on… read more.
Jayson Derrick
Lead News Editor
Jayson lives in Montreal with his wife and daughter, loves watching hockey, and is on a lifelong quest to perfect the art of Texas style BBQ. read more.