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S&P Equity Research; Health Care Reform After The Buzzsaw - Where Are We Now?
Date:2/8/2010

osts that would have resulted from reform legislation.

S&P Equity Research believes the possible downsizing of health care reform could be beneficial for many of the medical device manufacturers who we believe had assumed they would have to accrue reserves to cover the costs associated with a possible medical device tax beginning in 2010 for payment in 2011 and now may no longer have to face that liability.  In fact, on its fourth-quarter 2009 earnings call, St. Jude Medical (STJ 38 ***) noted it assumed such a tax in its 2010 guidance and any failure of reform to pass could mean upside to its possible earnings estimates.  As a result, we believe there is potential upside to the profit estimates for the entire medical device group, and especially the smaller device manufacturers whom we think would have been disproportionately impacted by the tax.

We also believe any scaling back of reform would be a near-term positive for the pharmaceutical companies as it would eliminate the proposed $80 billion in fees and concessions agreed to by the industry to help fund reform.  However, we note that any curtailment of reform may raise the undesirable prospect of the government revisiting direct negotiations of Medicare drug pricing in lieu of the $80 billion in fees and concessions.

S&P Equity Research views a more limited health care reform plan as potentially negative for the biotechnology industry.  Currently there is no regulatory approval process for generic versions of biotechnology drugs (biometrics) whose patents have expired.  As health care reform was being debated in D.C. over the last few months, one key component of any legislation was to create such a regulatory approval process.  After much debate, both of the proposed bills included an exclusivity period of 12 years for biotech drug makers before a biogeneric could enter the
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