Friday, May 4, 2007
In March 2000, Katie Couric did the unthinkable – she underwent one of the most intrusive and embarrassing medical examinations on live television.
Two years before, Couric had lost her husband to colon cancer. His death may have been prevented had his cancer been caught earlier.
Motivated by the tragedy, the perky Today Show co-host donned a hospital gown… and had a long tube inserted into her rectum and snaked through her large intestine. In other words, she had a colonoscopy.
After the procedure, Couric spoke on colon cancer before the U.S. Senate. In her testimony, she described the rationale behind her public display:
"Nobody needs to die of embarrassment."
Every year, 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer – one-third of those patients die, making colon cancer the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S. Most of these deaths are preventable. There's a 90% cure rate for the cancer if detected early… But that's a very big "if." Two-thirds of the people who should be screened aren't.
The reason is simple. The current screening method – a colonoscopy – is intrusive, unpleasant, and, yes, embarrassing. But it can literally be the difference between life and death.
However, colonoscopies could become a thing of the past, thanks to one of the world's best stocks to own right now. This company is developing a less intrusive and less embarrassing alternative to the colonoscopy.
Unlike a colonoscopy, this device makes cancer diagnosis as easy as swallowing a pill… because that's literally what you do: You swallow a pill that "inspects" your digestive tract.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone over the age of 50 undergo colon-cancer screening on a regular basis. With 50,000 annual deaths in the U.S. from colon cancer and 60% of patients not getting screened routinely, there's a giant market for this product.
Moreover, insurance companies will happily pay for this procedure to increase the screening rates of insured patients, which would head off costly bills for colon-cancer treatment.
Already cleared for marketing in Europe, I expect this device to receive FDA approval in the U.S. this year. Preliminary clinical trial results show that the pill is about as good a diagnostic tool as colonoscopies.
The company is betting – and so are we – that patients (and doctors) would readily sacrifice a minimal amount of accuracy in order to avoid all the intrusive, uncomfortable, and embarrassing side effects of colonoscopies.
As I mentioned, this product rollout is starting in Europe, and will receive FDA approval in the U.S. in 2007. Once the company secures government permitting and reimbursement plans from insurers, sales of this new device will skyrocket. If all goes as expected, annual sales could exceed $500 million per year.
Health care spending – already at $2 trillion – is expected to increase 7% a year for at least the next decade. If you're looking to profit from this flood of money, this company is a great place to start.
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