Survey Finds ICD Maker’s Withdrawal Provides Big Opening for Competition


April 9, 2010

April 9, 2010 – A survey of physicians by Majestic Research found that Boston Scientific’s March 15 decision to withdraw from the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) market will have a meaningful, long-term impact on the implantable electrophysiology device market.

Among surveyed electrophysiologists, 56 percent report the recent announcements and actions by the company have negatively impacted their perceptions of the overall quality of Boston Scientific’s ICD devices. The survey found 52 percent said they would be less likely to use the company’s devices in the future.

The company withdrew its ICD products from the market in March after a planned process review revealed two manufacturing process changes were not submitted for FDA approval. It also plead guilty April 5 to criminal violations for improper reporting of short-circuit failures of three models of its implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). The company agreed to pay more than $296 million in damages.

The study found Boston Scientific’s withdrawal from the market provided an opening for competitors, which may disproportionately benefit St. Jude Medical.

“Boston Scientific’s decision to suspend sales puts one-third of the market up for grabs, an extraordinary opportunity for those positioned to supply the market in the interim,” said Philip Legendy, director and senior medical device analyst at Majestic Research. “Given their historical sales footprint, we expected to see Medtronic outpacing St. Jude’s share of the new business at a ratio of about 2 to 1. Our study suggests, however, that St. Jude is running only 13 points of share behind Medtronic in converting physicians who formerly preferred Boston Scientific ICDs.”

Majestic Research’s Boston Scientific ICD withdrawal study encompasses analysis of a targeted Internet survey of 70 electrophysiologists who were surveyed from March 18 to March 24. The study evaluates physician response to the announcement and field action, the long-term impact on Boston’s ICD devices and overall company brand, which competitors will benefit, and what messaging, if any, has been communicated by sales representatives.

Majestic Research is an independent financial and market research firm.

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