Reform to chisel $600M from AZ's 2011 profits

AstraZeneca ($AZN) now expects a $600 million hit to profits for 2011 as U.S. healthcare reform kicks in. CEO David Brennan (photo) told a healthcare conference that reform would lower this year's results by $300 million and next year's by twice that much. "My U.S. profit and loss statement for 2010 will take a $300 million hit on healthcare reform and double that next year, so it is a pretty significant impact on our business," Brennan said. Last year, AstraZeneca reported core before-tax profits of $12.88 billion.

Brennan was among the leading proponents of a healthcare overhaul. As chairman of the industry association PhRMA, he played a key role in negotiations with lawmakers that eventually led to that $80 billion promise of cost cuts from the pharma business.

And despite the obvious pain to his company, Brennan remains upbeat about reform overall. After Republicans took back control of the House of Representatives in last month's election, he decried the calls for a wholesale repeal of the law. Rather, he said, the reform package could use a few tweaks here and there, particularly in the provision creating a Medicare payment advisory board.

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