December 1, 2010 / 11:44 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. reform to cost AstraZeneca $600 mln in 2011

* CEO sees profit hit doubling in 2011 from $300 mln in 2010

* Impact reflects deal cut by drugs industry with government

* Shares up 1.3 percent

(Adds background on U.S. healthcare reform)

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The hit to AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) profit as a result of U.S. healthcare reform will double to $600 million in 2011 from this year’s expected $300 million, the drugmaker’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

“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,” David Brennan told a conference.

The impact reflected the deal cut by pharmaceutical companies with Democrats to offer drug price discounts and pay billions in taxes to help fund the overhaul of U.S. healthcare.

Despite the short-term pain, the reform plan could benefit drugmakers in the long term by adding millions of new customers for their products.

Recent elections saw gains for Republicans who want to repeal the healthcare package passed by Democrats in March, although few industry commentators anticipate any substantial changes to the overhaul.

Uncertainty has afflicted the drugs sector since President Barack Obama won the 2008 election and pledged to revamp the nation’s $2.6 trillion healthcare system and help the uninsured.

AstraZeneca shares were up 1.3 percent at 1140 GMT. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Hans Peters and Dan Lalor)

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