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Pharma firms, surgeons battle 'Botax'

Article-Pharma firms, surgeons battle 'Botax'

Irvine, Calif. — Botox-maker Allergan, based here, has joined with cosmetic surgeons and other pharma firms to fight a proposed tax that would help fund healthcare reform, the Orange County (Calif.) Business Journal reports.

The proposed tax — dubbed the “Botax” — is part of the $1 trillion federal healthcare reform legislation recently introduced in Congress. The bill includes a provision that would place a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgeries and procedures such as facelifts, liposuction and Botox injections. The tax would generate an estimated $6 billion over 10 years.

The Business Journal article quotes an Allergan spokesperson as saying, “[The tax] is unnecessarily punitive on people who have merely decided to enhance their appearance.”

Others say the tax would be especially unfair to women who earn $30,000 to $60,000, noting that 86 percent of cosmetic surgery patients are female. Still other opponents argue that the tax could be hurtful to jobless women looking to increase their marketability to prospective employers.

According to the Business Journal, Allergan and its allies already had persuaded lawmakers to cut the tax to 5 percent from the previously proposed 10 percent. Makers of medical devices also joined together and convinced legislators to cut by half a proposed 10 percent tax on device sales.

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