Healthcare Stocks Narrowly Higher; Zogenix Jumps Nearly 11% After Federal Judge Stays State Ban on Zohydro

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Healthcare stocks were higher Wednesday, with the NYSE Healthcare Sector Index rising 0.3% and shares of healthcare companies in the S&P 500 posting a 0.1% gain as a group.

In company news, Zogenix ( ZGNX ) was posting big gains after a federal judge late Tuesday issued an order preventing the State of Massachusetts from enforcing a ban on its Zohydro painkiller, effective April 22.

ZGNX last week filed suit in U.S. District Court in Boston seeking to shelve the proposed statewide ban intended to keep doctors from prescribing or drug stores from selling its Zohydro painkiller, saying the action infringed on the federal government's authority to regulate drugs and other healthcare treatments.

A hearing in the case was held Monday.

Public officials have railed against Zohydro since last October when the Food and Drug Administration cleared the opiate analgesic for U.S. sales, arguing it can be easily altered and abused. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed an executive order late last month declaring a public health emergency and barring Zohydro sales and distribution, saying it could exacerbate a spate of overdose deaths in the state from heroin and other opiates.

ZGNX shares were up 10.7% in recent trade at $2.59, earlier climbing to an intra-day high of $2.68 a share. The stock hit a three-year high of $5.19 a share on Feb. 13 when the company released data from a Phase III study showing Zohydro was effective in providing around-the-clock, long-term pain management.

In other sector news,

(+) BSX, (+0.8%) Federal appeals court vacates preliminary injunction sought by Vascular Solutions ( VASC ) against the company's Guidezilla guide extension catheter, calling it a "drastic and extraordinary remedy."

(+) ABT, (+0.3%) Reports Q1 earnings of $0.41 per share, ex items, topping the Capital IQ consensus by $0.05. Revenue slides 2.5% year over year to $5.24 bln, missing the Street view by around $50 mln.



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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: ZGNX , VASC

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