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Stryker CEO Warns Against Haste in Healthcare Reform

Healthcare reform will bring slightly greater pricing pressure but larger volume for medical technology firms, says Steve Macmillan, CEO of Stryker.

Still, he worries that a hastily crafted reform bill may lead to unintended consequences in the long-run. "I hope we don't ram something through," he tells CNBC. (To hear the full interview, watch the video.)

Macmillan expects the Kalamazoo, Mich., medical equipment provider's clients—hospitals—to continue to conserve capital amidst uncertainty over healthcare reform through 2009, calling it a "digestion year" for hospitals.

Stryker , which operates in 120 countries, saw earnings fall by 4.7 percent but beat analysts' expectations. Macmillan says weaker purchases of hospital equipment were offset by steady growth in sales of orthopedic implants.

Macmillan defends the company's underlying fundamentals, arguing that regardless of reform, demand for orthopedic equipment will be fueled by aging baby boomers.

"We feel very good...people are going to need our products," he says.

Stryker is looking for opportunities for potential acquisitions, says Macmillan, who insists the company has plenty of cash on hand.

"We like our position to be able to be on the prowl during these times," he says.

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