The medical device tax is costing the med tech industry money--and so is lobbying to get rid of it.
At almost $33 million, the industry's 2014 lobbying expenditure was up 6% over 2013 and has more than tripled since 1998's total of $8.9 million, Mass Device reports, citing the Center for Responsive Politics' website, OpenSecrets.org.
The industry's biggest company, Medtronic ($MDT) had lobbying expenditures of $5.3 million, which included an unsuccessful effort to prevent the government from taking action to deter tax inversion deals, such as its $50 billion takeover of Covidien. But, the company can take solace that the initiative was not severe enough to deter the deal, and was undertaken by the Treasury Department--not Congress.
Besides the medical device tax, corporate tax reform in general is also of interest to the med tech industry, as Congress may debate the topic during this legislative session. And lobbying is sure to increase in 2015 due to the ambitious Republican-led plan to overhaul government regulation of the life sciences industry, known as the 21st Century Cures initiative.
Other tops spenders of 2014 include Baxter's ($BAX) $2.8 million, trade association AdvaMed's $2.4 million, Boston Scientific's ($BSX) $1.8 million and Smith & Nephew's ($SNN) $1.7 million, which was also the possible target of an inversion bid from Stryker ($SYK) that appears to have fizzled out.
Not included on the list is Apple ($AAPL), which is known to be chatting with congressional representatives and likely seeks to loosen healthcare regulations that are encumbering its med tech ambitions.
- read the Mass Device article