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Tickers in this Article: BIIB, LLY, GILD
Over the past year, many different pharmaceuticals have been an ideal place for investors to hide. With increasing demand for several key drugs among baby boomers, retirees and overseas patients, countless investors are wondering if now is the time to go aggressively into this sector. IN PICTURES: Eight Ways To Survive A Market Downturn

Pharmaceutical Demand Expected To Increase
Part of the reason for the surge in demand is that many developed Western nations have aging populations. In addition, China and other developing nations are increasing their demand for popular drugs on the market. This, along with increasing demand worldwide, is causing many of the large drug manufacturers to report better than expected numbers despite coming out of one of the worst recessions. (For more, see Stocks On Drugs: What It Takes To Get High.)

Ways To Make Money Off This Increasing Demand
You can make money off this promising sector in many ways. The following stocks offer potential long-term growth in addition to improving earnings:

Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY) reported better than expected earnings of $1.21 per share compared to 1.20 cents at this time last year. Chairman and CEO John C. Lechleiter said, "Lilly delivered solid financial results in the third quarter, highlighted by international revenue growth and the impact of ongoing cost containment initiatives." In spite of the global economic recession, the company continues to report higher drug sales and profits as a result of strong demand. (For further reading, see Measuring The Medicine Makers.)

Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq:GILD) announced better than expected earnings of 83 cents, compared to 72 cents one year ago. Gilead also reported strong sales of its popular AIDS drugs, Atripla and Truvada, saying that both had increases of 23% and 8% compared to one year ago due to continually increasing sales in the United States and Europe. This will more than likely continue to help improve the company's overall earnings in the coming quarters.

Biogen Idec (Nasdaq:BIIB) reported earnings of $1.05 compared to 95 cents in the same quarter last year. CEO George Scangos said, "We had another solid quarter driven primarily by increased AVONEX and TYSABRI revenues...We also continued to demonstrate our leadership position in MS with our strong showing at this year's ECTRIMS Congress, while expanding our neurology foothold with the licensing agreement for KNS-760704 (dexpramipexole) for the treatment of ALS"

Demand for the company's drugs remains strong both inside and outside the U.S. This strong demand and improving year-over-year earnings results indicate the company's financial strength.

Bottom Line
Despite the recent recession hurting many different industries and companies, the pharmaceutical sector continues to show strong year-over-year earnings results and demand worldwide. While you never can be certain of what the future will bring, clearly Eli Lilly, Gilead Sciences, Biogen Idec all have improving earnings and strong momentum that should provide continued earnings growth - something that is difficult to find during this challenging economic environment.

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