NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of drug companies slipped Thursday morning after the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care overhaul law.
In a highly anticipated decision, the court ruled the health care law is constitutional by a 5-4 majority. The vote upheld almost the entire the law, including a provision that requires most people to have health insurance or pay a fine. The law is expected to help pharmaceutical sales because it expands insurance coverage.
President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in to law in March 2010 after a year of intense national debate. The law allows children to remain on their parents' insurance until they turn 26, bars health insurers from dropping plan members who become ill, prohibits insurers from excluding children under 19 with pre-existing health problems, requires insurers to spend certain percentages of their premium dollars on medical care, and authorizes the Food and Drug Administration to approve generic versions of biotech drugs.
Parts of the law are still being phased in. By 2014, health insurers will not be allowed to exclude coverage to people with pre-existing health problems or make them pay higher rates, and people will be allowed to buy health insurance through exchanges.
Shares of Pfizer Inc. lost 18 cents to $22.43 in morning trading, while Merck & Co. stock dipped 2 cents to $40.51. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. stock declined 14 cents to $34.95 and Eli Lilly and Co. shares slipped 13 cents to $41.80. Shares of biotech drugmaker Amgen Inc. lost 37 cents to $72 and shares of generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. fell 59 cents to $38.45.