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The healthcare sector is widely regarded as a defensive play in the stock market. Healthcare is thought of being less elastic than normal goods because when people are sick they will use it with little thought of price.

We attempt to answer if the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors are defensive plays during a bear market, and how they compare in a bull market? We analyzed the performance of a pharmaceutical and a biotechnology index from March 2000 through April 2013 alongside the S&P 500.