For Boston Scientific And JNJ, The Stent Stats Get Worse

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"William O’Neill, dean of clinical affairs at University of Miami’sMiller School of Medicine, says stent-patient traffic is beginning topick up in South Florida. Still, restoring luster to the popular deviceis likely to be an uphill battle," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) reported that sales of its drug-coated stents dropped 40% in the third quarter. For Boston Scientific (BSX), that number was 24%. Drug coated stents are much more expensive that the older, bare metal version, and they have a much higher profit margin.

But, new concerns about the chance that the drug-coated device can cause clots has lead patients to seek other treatments including the use of drugs to thin blood and open arteries. A little over a year ago, 90% of stents put into patients were drug-coated. That figure is down to 60%.

That is a lot of revenue and especially profit lost by the two companies. JNJ is fairly diversified beyond the stent business, about BSX less so.

Boston Scientific just laid off over 2,000 people. That may not be the end of it.

Douglas A. McIntyre