The list of management screw-ups at Boston Scientific (BSX) is almost too long to number. It bought rival Guidant and added $7 billion in debt in the process. Some of Guidant’s products were not as good as due diligence might have indicated, so, by most measures BSX overpaid.
BSX then hit a big bump in the road for its largest product line which is drug-coated stents. The devices keep arteries open and clots away from the vessel walls. That was working fine until medical studies showed that stents were not as effective as believed. Some surveys even showed patients were better off having their chests cracked open for by-pass surgery, a fate not fit for a dog.
Now it turns out that part of the intellectual property used in the BSX stents does not even belong to the company. According to The Wall Street Journal, based on "a final judgment issued yesterday in federal court, Boston Scientific has to pay Johnson & Johnson for infringing a patent on a bare-metal stent." The price tag is over $700 million.
BSX shares are down almost 8% to $11.34 and investors have to be asking, for the tenth time, why the board keeps current management around.
Douglas A. McIntyre