Zoll CEO Packer on device tax repeal efforts: No pessimists on the front lines

December 20, 2012 by Arezu Sarvestani

Zoll CEO Rick Packer says that tax repeal advocates on the front lines of the discussions with Washington are optimistic that the levy on device makers will be addressed before it hits in January.

Zoll CEO Richard Packer

As the medical device excise tax creeps closer to its planned launch date, all eyes are on Congress to see whether medtech lobbying efforts will yield a win for the industry.

While lawmakers weigh the tax and argue their way toward the so-called fiscal cliff, device industry stakeholders are placing their bets on whether or not the excise tax will survive until January.

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A MassDevice.com snap poll also showed substantial pessimism that the tax would be repealed or that the industry's influence in Washington, D.C., would get very far.

"I would ask whether those people are close to the fight or not," medical device maker Zoll Medical's CEO Richard Packer told MassDevice.com in an interview. "Most people don't know what's going on, they don't recognize the magnitude of the letter that the Democratic senators sent to leadership, they don't understand those things.  So they see tax accountants getting ready to figure this out they just assume that the tax is fait accompli."

Packer remains steadfast in optimism that the tax is not 'fait accompli,' or a done deal. He remains in conversations with lawmakers and their staff, and from his perspective the outlook is pretty rosy, he told us.

"From the tops of the organizations, we're still very much engaged with conversations with the people in Washington.  We feel optimistic that, if there is a fiscal cliff package, the medical device tax is one of the items that is being discussed and worked into that package," Packer said. "I would doubt that anyone, such as myself, that is close to the conversation with Washington, that is spending time educating our legislators in Washington, would feel anything less than optimistic."

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