Boston Scientific Corporation Awaits Aftershocks From Study Favoring Bypass Over Stents

Published: Nov 05, 2012

Boston Business Journal by Craig Douglas, Managing editor/online vertical products and research

The results from a five-year study of diabetics with diseased arteries has found that patients who have bypass surgery fare significantly better than those who undergo clearing procedures supported by implanted drug-coated stents.

The discovery could have long-term implications for Boston Scientific Corp. and other medical device makers that have made billions in the drug-coated stent market. According to a report by Reuters, the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published Sunday, showed that the bypass group had a combined 18.7 percent likelihood of heart attacks, strokes or death following the procedure, compared to 26.6 percent for those who received stents.

Valentin Fuster, a doctor from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York who presented the findings at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in Los Angeles, said the findings were statistically significant and could alter the way in which diabetics with damaged arteries are treated, according to the Reuters report. Approximately a million bypass surgeries or stent procedures are performed in the United States annually.

For Boston Scientific and other drug-coated stent makers, the findings could mean an immediate erosion of sales, should medical providers and diabetic patients favor bypass procedures going forward.

Boston Scientific said 2012 sales are likely to be around $7.2 billion this year, with stents and other cardiology-related products expected to comprise around half that total. The company’s recent quarterly earning report showed a near 20 percent drop in cardiology-product sales in the period ended Sept. 30.

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