Finding Your Way Through the Medical Device Excise Tax

Despite the best efforts of various lawmakers and lobbyists, repeal of the medical device excise tax portion of the Affordable Care Act should be considered off the table.

As President Obama settled into his second term, it has become obvious he is not going to be influenced by lobbyists, special interests or pleading by industry leaders, and will make good on his veto promise.

The reality is that this tax will probably become reality, and we need to face it, realistically. Shoulders back; deep breath; ready, begin.

There are few marketing options available, but possibly an opportunity to use the situation to your benefit. Basically you’re going to have to pass the tax along in increased costs to retailers and consumers, or absorb it.

But you may also have the opportunity to revisit your pricing mix and perhaps change your marketing strategy to approach the situation creatively. Of course, how you communicate your actions can help or hinder sales and perceptions.

Most companies are opting to raise prices. The Healthcare Supply Chain Association indicated in its press release that some medical device manufacturers are supposedly taking this route.

You can garner some good PR by saying your product is offered at the same low price, with only the tax added. The additional cost is just the tax, as required by law and you’ve embraced the good intentions of the Affordable Care Act.

If you’re not raising prices, you can legitimately claim to be one of the “Good Guys,” saving retailers and consumers by eating the tax and sheltering them from the hardship of higher costs in these difficult times. And build brand loyalty by telling that story.

Amid the industry unrest and consumer concern, it might be advantageous for you to take a look at and adjust your pricing mix. You could add the tax, increase your prices, and market your products as top of the line and worth every penny.

You could take a hybrid approach and absorb some of the increase where your competition can’t afford to do so, target some of those companies, market to their customers, and pick up some additional market share.

There may not be a complete win-win solution to coping with this tax, but if you address your messaging and marketing tactics now, you will be better prepared for whatever else 2014 might send your way.