European and Japanese drug stocks have risen after a Republican win in the US Senate race could form a major obstacle to President Barack Obama’s plans for healthcare reform.

A win for republican Senator Scott Brown, who takes over the seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy, removes the Democrats’ 60 seat majority in the Senate creating just enough opposition to block votes on a healthcare system overhaul.

The news is good for pharmaceutical companies, with GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis leading the European sector, each gaining 1.7%.

Japanes drug maker Takeda saw a similar rise, but one of the biggest rises was seen by Ireland’s Shire, whose stocks rose 3.7%.