The healthcare sector is home to many high quality businesses, many with exciting growth prospects.

The sector is split into two industry groups:

  • health care equipment and services
  • pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences

With a broad range of businesses available, the health sector is an attractive area for identifying stocks for a diversified portfolio.

Here are two stocks worth knowing from each industry group. In each case, one is already a major industry player – a stalwart – if you like. The other is an “up-and-comer” with plenty of growth potential ahead.

Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) is a $15 billion private hospital operator that could be described as a stalwart of the healthcare equipment and services industry.

Its global asset base provides a defensive earnings stream, however, the stock also has exciting growth prospects. According to forecast data provided by CommSec, earnings per share (EPS) growth of nearly 14% in the current financial year is expected.

Pro Medicus Limited (ASX: PME) now boasts a market capitalisation of around $550 million thanks to a 130% surge in its share price over the past 12 months.

Pro Medicus has developed niche software for radiology and diagnostic imaging related professions. EPS are forecast to nearly double this year.

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) is truly a stalwart of the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences industry with a market capitalisation of $52 billion.

With a significant portfolio of intellectual property and a global operating base, like Ramsay, CSL has many defensive characteristics. Also like Ramsay, despite CSL’s size, its growth profile remains incredibly appealing with EPS growth of 23.5% forecast for the 2017 financial year.

Mayne Pharma Group Ltd (ASX: MYX) is certainly deserving of the “up-and-coming” title after a recent acquisition which investors have cheered. The share price has rallied 30% in the past month and Mayne’s market capitalisation has rocketed to around $3 billion.

With a growing pipeline of both branded and generic pharmaceuticals, the group’s EPS are forecast to grow at around 40%.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.