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BBC World Service

J&J buys orthopedic company in $21.3 bil. deal

Rebecca Singer Apr 27, 2011
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BBC World Service

J&J buys orthopedic company in $21.3 bil. deal

Rebecca Singer Apr 27, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

STACEY VANEK SMITH: Some big doings in the medical technology world this morning. Johnson and Johnson is buying a Swiss company that makes orthopedic medical devices in a $21 billion deal. Why would a consumer drug company want to get into the business of broken bones?

The BBC’s Rebecca Singer takes a look.


REBECCA SINGER: People are living longer. And as we age, we don’t all do it gracefully. Swiss company Synthes makes nails, screws and plates to fix broken bones. And with the aging population, the global orthopedics market is worth $37 billion dollars a year and growing.

Stephen Godwin is a pharmaceutical analyst at Synovate Health Care. He says a lot of the demand is coming from people who expect to be kept comfortable as they get older.

STEPHEN GODWIN: Once upon a time people were quite happy to take any sort of support for their aches and pains that physicians were prepared to give them. Now they know there’s a lot more technology out there, everything from things you rub on your joints to things you replace your joints with. It’s a huge market.

Johnson and Johnson is most famous for its consumer health care and drugs. And although it’s expanded rapidly over the past few years, this is its biggest purchase to date and will make it one of the leaders in providing equipment for bones and joints.

In London, I’m the BBC’s Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.

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