Covidien denies layoffs report

One of the Covidien buildings in theCabot Business Park in Mansfield. (Sun Chroncile file photo)

MANSFIELD - Covidien officials are denying a report by conservative syndicated columnist George Will that the company is citing an upcoming 2.3 percent tax on medical device companies as a reason for laying off workers and transferring other jobs overseas.

Will, in a column in the Washington Post titled "Taxing Jobs Out of Existence," quoted the pharmaceutical and medical device giant as blaming the federal tax for a decision to lay off 200 workers and move some of its production to Costa Rica and Mexico.

A spokeswoman at Covidien's U.S. headquarters said the company has not announced any layoffs in the recent past and has never connected the proposed tax with its strategic decisions.

"The information in that column is inaccurate," Covidien spokeswoman Lisa Clemence said after the company put out a statement denying the Will column.

The spokeswoman said the reference in the column might have been a reference to personnel moves the company made two years ago, but that the company is not laying off workers now.

"While we believe the medical device tax may hurt investment in innovation and research and development, Covidien has never cited the device tax as a reason for laying off employees or transferring production to other locations," Covidien said in a brief statement.

The 2.3 percent tax on gross revenue is scheduled to take effect in 2013.

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