Senior executives from pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies expect to pay higher tax rates in the years ahead, according to a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The firm polled 35 senior tax executives from the three industries and found that 62 percent believe that an increase in the effective tax rate for the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry is inevitable. Sixty-three percent of the poll participants agreed that the cost of increased taxes on their organizations might eventually be passed to consumers unless they find ways to operate more efficiently and transform their approach to research and development, sales and marketing.

Sixty-two percent of the tax executives polled said they are looking to maximize tax credits and other incentives for research and development. Virtually all of the executives polled said they believe the demand for tax specialists will grow substantially as tax issues for the industry become more complex.

More than half of the respondents said they are now being consulted early by senior management on strategic business decisions, and thus have influence over the direction of the company. However, 34 percent said they are consulted late in the game, and 9 percent of the tax executives said they are informed after the fact about strategic business decisions that have tax implications for the organization.

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