Medtronic (MDT): The Stent Business Gets Worse

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Medtronic (MDT) has decided to get into the stent business, making the little mesh tubes that keep arteries open. It is a perverse selection because Boston Scientific (BSX) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has already had their heads handed to them based on negative results from safety studies testing the devices.

Wall St. only has to look at the BSX stock, which was over $27 in December 2005 and trades at $14 now, to see what happens when medical researchers turn on a treatment like a pack of wild dogs. Several studies have indicated that that drug-coated stent made by BSX can cause clots and have to be replaced.

But, the way of American business is to think that it can do better than the other guy, show him up and make money at it. Medtronics believed its new coated-stent would test out well, and take market share from the two front runners. But, the FDA ruined that plan by saying that the MDT product was perhaps even more likely to cause clots than it BSX competition. As The New York Times put it "the new heart stent from Medtronics has been associated with more blood clots than a rival product has, federal regulators have concluded."

One the news, Medtronics shares dropped almost 2% and it’s back to the drawing board.

Douglas A.McIntyre