Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) CEO Bill Hawkins took to the airwaves April 8, saying that the medical device excise tax could cost his company “in the neighborhood” of $150 milion to $200 million annually.
Hawkins appeared on the cable news network CNBC for an interview in which he also touched on how the company has benefited from recent problems at Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX).
Hawkins said the 2.3 percent excise tax contained in the healthcare reform act, which goes into effect in 2013, would certainly affect Minneapolis-based Medtronic, particularly when it comes to research & development efforts. However, he stopped short of saying the tax would lead to any major workforce cuts.
“At this juncture, we don’t anticipate having to lay off people, but we will have to cut down on the expense growth to accommodate,” Hawkins said.
But he softened his tone on the healthcare reform efforts in general, saying that there “were some good things” contained in the recently passed overhaul, including the fact that 35 million more people will have access to equipment built by companies like Medtronic.
Hawkins also said that his company was “well-positioned” to pounce on the recent shutdown of Boston Scientific’s defibrillator operations.
“The day they did the recall we were in those accounts to make sure people who needed the devices got them,” he said.