Sen. Scott Brown talks medical device tax repeal at Covidien

Massachusetts Senator and GOP presidential hopeful Scott Brown told Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) employees that the impending medical device tax was “a wet blanket over the industry” when he toured the med-tech giant’s headquarters in Mansfield, Mass., yesterday.

An active challenger of the impending medical device tax, Brown’s latest legislation aimed at repealing the bill was co-sponsored by fellow Republican Sens. Richard Luger (Ind.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).

“Taxes are a job killer. We have to create a climate of predictability and stability. That is what will produce jobs,” Brown told the company.

Covidien, which ranked 9th on the MassDevice Big 100 list of the world’s largest medical device companies, estimated that the device tax, set to take effect in 2013, could cost the company $100 million, the Sun Chronicle reported. The company posted $535 million in profits on $2.93 billion in sales in the three months ended June 24, 2011.


Brown had similarly criticized the medical device tax bill at the Boston Biotech Conference in June, where he spoke before an assembled group of biotechnology executives.

“Right now, there is a complete breakdown between what’s happening at the FDA and what your needs are” Brown said. “It’s money, it’s time, it’s innovation. And right now, we’re losing out to competitors overseas.”

Brown has been been a staunch critic of the medical device tax, telling MassDevice last year that it amounted to a levy with no purpose or rationale.

Brown, who is running for re-election in 2012, has been a vocal supporter of the medical technology industry. In March he helped relaunch a Senate medical technology caucus with Sen. Amy Kloubchar (D-Minn.). Both senators represent communities where the medical device business has sunk deep roots. Minnesota and Massachusetts combined are home to the U.S. headquarters of most of the top 10 medical device companies in the world, accounting for more than 100,000 jobs.

After a closed-door meeting with Covidien Brown learned how to use some the company’s surgical technology, practicing making incisions on a steak, the Sun Chronicle wrote.

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