Founded in 1871 – before which it was a loose confederation of duchies and principalities – the modern nation of Germany was the first to guarantee all its citizens the right to low-cost or free medical care. This has been a constant from the time the country was an empire ruled by the Kaiser, during the Weimar period, under Hitler and the Nazis, and in the decades following the Second World War as Germany transitioned into a modern, progressive democracy. Regardless of what form their government has taken, no German citizen has ever had to fear bankruptcy from medical bills or death from an inability to pay for treatment. German citizens today have the option of purchasing private insurance if they wish, but even those private insurers are forbidden by law to make a profit on basic medical services (they are allowed to profit from coverage for elective procedures, such as cosmetic surgeries and treatments).
This is also applies to pharmaceutical companies in Germany. That nation's laws prohibit companies like Fresenius and Boehringer-Ingelheim extracting profits from life-saving medications. However, these laws do not apply to sales outside of Germany.
Small wonder that German and other overseas drug companies love the U.S.A., where everything – including life-saving medical treatments – must be a profit-generating commodity for someone, somewhere. So it shouldn't be surprising that companies like Fresenius are getting a bit nervous as provisions of the Affordable Care Act are phased in over the next several months at the same time the dysfunctional American government with its sorely misplaced priorities continue to make cuts as they “balance” the budget on the backs of workers.
According to an article from Reuters Deutschland, the news company's German outlet, these ACA provisions – part of which impose special taxes on medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies – and budget cuts are making the bean counters at Fresenius somewhat concerned. According to Rice Powell, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), the company is unlikely to meet its earlier earnings projections this year – though they still expect to rake in between $1.1 and $1.2 billion.
Nonetheless, German stockholders who have been enjoying rising returns from their investments in the “world's biggest health care market” - the good old U.S.A. - have been warned by Elmar Besslich of Germany's Schutzgemeinschaft der Kapitalanleger (literally, “Protective Community of the Investors”) that “...some figures do not rise...maybe the future is not quite so rosy.”
About the current lawsuits pending in the U.S., FMC board member Rainer Runte told the media that he believes that “these actions are without merit,” adding that he expects “...that we will successfully defend ourselves against these claims.” Because of this expectation, no provisions have been made for the possibility that FMC will be forced to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in claims.
But then, what's a few million bucks when your profits are in the billions? Just one of the costs of doing business...
N/A. “Politischer Gegenwind Stimmt Dialysefirma FMC Vorsichtig (Political Headwinds Make Dialysis Firm FMC Cautious).” Reuters Deutschland, 16 May 2013. Available (in German) at http://de.reuters.com/article/companiesNews/idDEBEE94F04U20130516
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