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New Health Care Plan Includes a Tax on Cosmetic Procedures

Posted: November 20, 2009

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"On multiple fronts, we were assured that this was not something that any one of the senators or representatives wanted to pursue. This is something that we did not foresee," Russo said in an interview. "We feel it's unfair to those people who've saved hard-earned moneys to have something to improve their appearance, and now may not even be able to afford it," he said.

His group isn't registered to lobby, although the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported spending nearly $400,000 this year trying to influence Congress. The society, which has two in-house lobbyists, didn't list a plastic surgery tax among its legislative priorities in disclosures filed on Capitol Hill. And Haeck, president-elect of the society, said industry players whose products would be affected took the lead lobbying against it.

Allergan's shares were down more than 2% Thursday after news of the tax broke. The company, which recently projected net product sales for this year of more than $4 billion, expects the injectible wrinkle-smoothing medicine to rake in $1.3 billion in 2009. It has spent $1.4 million lobbying Congress on health care issues this year.

Shares sliding

Medical device and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, a maker of breast implants, also saw its shares slide. The company has spent more than $3 million lobbying Congress this year on a wide range of issues, many related to the health overhaul. It was a major player in a successful fight by the medical device industry to get lawmakers to cut in half a proposed $40 billion tax on their products.