Pharmaceutical COVID-19 News: Ending COVID-19 or Boosting Stocks?

Published May 24th, 2020 - 07:00 GMT
Pharmaceutical COVID-19 News: Ending COVID-19 or Boosting Stocks?
Hydroxychloroquine, despite generating the biggest buzz since the COVID-19 outbreak, isn't the only suspect of being pushed for stock gains. (Shutterstock: balein)

Insisting on endorsing hydroxychloroquine for preventing COVID-19 despite doctor's warnings, US President Donald Trump had to tell journalists during a press release that "he doesn’t own stocks in the company that produces it," in response to questions over his motives to promote it.

Maybe Donald Trump is honestly just convinced that the drug he "has been taking for a few days" will protect him from contracting the Coronavirus. Maybe he indeed doesn't own any stocks in Mylan, the US-based manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine, and maybe he doesn't even know people who own the pharmaceutical company. 

Yet, a New York Times report released in the early days of April highlighted that Donald Trump does have "a small personal financial interest in Sanofi," the French drugmaker of hydroxychloroquine.

But even if this wasn't true, the US President knows that any positive news of a potential drug or a vaccine could be a positive driving force in the New York Stock Exchange, which suffered a major crash since the pandemic.

Maybe the US President is doing everything he can to help boost the struggling economy in order for him to get enough credit to secure his second term in the White House next November.

Questions over certain politicians and media outlets' involvement in spreading news related to drugs that are yet to be tested for treating the deadly virus continue to rise. As well as the news of clinical trials, still in the very first stages of studies, and whether this is linked to how stocks of certain companies perform in the next few weeks.

Ever since doctors started experimenting with hydroxychloroquine on a global level, economists turned their attention to pharmaceutical stocks especially ones with a direct connection to the Malaria-prescribed drug. This happened again in late April when the FDA released a warning against using it for all cases, after it negatively affected patients with cardiac diseases.

Hydroxychloroquine, despite generating the biggest buzz since the COVID-19 outbreak, isn't the only suspect of being promoted for stock gains.

Gilead's promising Remdesivir drug has also been driving the company's shares higher with every piece of news about its role in easing symptoms suffered by Coronavirus patients. The California-based Gilead shares have jumped from around $60 at the beginning of the year to as high as $83 this month.

Similarly, heavy news coverage of Moderna's announcement of the success of its first phase of a vaccine trial caused its Nasdaq's shares to soar by historic 25% on the 18th of May, pushing the DOW index with about 700 points up in a matter of hours. 

It's still unclear whether circulating news of each potential drug or vaccine is only meant to reassure panicking people amid the health crisis, but it's sure steering the fierce competition between pharmaceutical and biomedical companies worldwide, as it helps many of them support their shares in the stock market.

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