Medtronic, Boston Scientific battle in declining cardiac device market

May 7, 2013  | By Mark Hollmer

Medtronic’s ($MDT) U.S. launch  this week of a new cardiac resynchronization therapy device triggered a nasty  advertising battle with arch-rival Boston Scientific ($BSX).

As the Star Tribune reports, the fight amounts to a war of  diminishing returns, considering that cardiac rhythm devices sales have long  been on a downward trend, battered by the global economy, reimbursement and  pricing pressures. So the remaining players in the space fiercely fight to  protect their share of the space, with launches of new products and aggressive  advertising intended to sway doctors and other providers in their favor.

Which brings us to the Medtronic/Boston Scientific advertising fight. Earlier  this week, Medtronic disclosed it won FDA approval to market its Viva cardiac  resynchronization therapy device (CRT-D), slyly noting in its promotional  material that it does a more efficient job in resynchronizing the heart rate of  patients suffering from heart failure (with an ability to continuously adapt).  Medtronic also says its device can help cut heart failure-related hospital  admissions. But as the Star Tribune notes, Boston Scientific sent its  own pitch to physicians, touting its Incepta CRT-D device (approved in 2011) and  other related models as superior to Viva and other Medtronic models, and also  longer lasting when set at similar energy levels.

Medtronic, in turn, issued a statement trashing the Boston Scientific ad as a  “misleading” effort that doesn’t accurately reflect how Medtronic’s devices  work, according to the article.

From a distance, the back-and-forth all seems rather exhausting. But even in  a declining market, there are billions of dollars at stake. Piper Jaffray &  Co. senior analyst Thomas Gunderson told the Star Tribune that  Medtronic has a whopping $18 billion share of the cardiac rhythm management  market–the winner by about half. And Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical ($STJ) are  left to fight over what’s left. That makes these advertising battles crucial.  Companies promote every detail of their products that might make them stand out,  the article notes, from being well-made to helping reduce hospital admissions.  In other words, the declining cardiac rhythm management market remains fiercely  competitive–brutal even–and that won’t stop any time soon.

Source: Medtronic, Boston Scientific battle in declining cardiac device market – FierceMedicalDevices