Over the past three years, investing in health care has been a winning bet. And as is often the case, keeping costs low has helped.

Of the top 20 funds with the highest total return over three years, 14 are in the health and pharmaceutical industries; and all 14 are ETFs, which typically carry low expenses. In fact, the Vanguard Health Care ETF carried an extremely low expense ratio of nine basis points. In total return, it's ranked 13th on this list.

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