Medical device company Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) was quick to respond to news of Medtronic’s (NYSE:MDT) new cardiac rhythm management devices with a jab at its rival, inciting a small back-and-forth over the true longevity of Medtronic’s new CRM implants.
Minnesota-based Medtronic, the largest pure-play medical device maker on the market, yesterday touted FDA clearance for its Viva portfolio of cardiac resynchronization defibrillators, which a press release touted as featuring a battery life of up to 11 years.
Massachusetts medtech giant Boston Scientific responded with an attack ad that read "Medtronic just launched their new high-voltage platform. We just have one question… Why another sub 5-year CRT-D?"
Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific has something of a reputation for its CRM battery life, having won European Union and FDA approval to market several of its implants as featuring longevity of up to 10 years. Last year group purchasing organization Novation highlighted the company’s efforts to boost battery life as a must for all implantable device makers.
Longer battery life means fewer revision surgeries for patients, which ultimately means lower costs for health systems, according to Novation, whose purchasing scale includes 47% of all surgeries in the U.S.
Standard implantable cardioverter defibrillators generally last up to 7 or 8 years, while CRT defibrillators may only last 5 years. A Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) product review found that less than half of all CRT-Ds released to market in 2007 were still in service after 4.4 years, according to Novation’s May 2012 report.
According to the new Boston Scientific ad, its Incepta model beat out Medtronic CRM implants, including Viva, in a head-to-head comparison of battery life when the devices were set to similar energy levels, the Star Tribune reported. The Incepta allegedly lasted 7.7 years while the Viva petered out after 4.6, according to Boston Scientific.
Medtronic called the ad "frankly misleading," saying that Boston Scientific’s analysis was based on settings that don’t reflect real-world use of the devices.
Medtronic responded with a "Reality Check" of its own, telling doctors that Medtronic’s devices lasted longer in "7 independent studies, including over 10,600 patients at 15 centers."
Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic just yesterday announced FDA clearance and launch of the Viva suite, which the company said can help save costs by reducing overall heart failure hospitalizations and can reduce patient discomfort by minimizing unnecessary shocks.
Medtronic also won FDA clearance for its Evera suite of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, which include features similar to the Viva line, such as SmartShock technology for reducing unnecessary shocks and long-lasting batteries that live up to 11 years, according to a press release.
Medtronic has issued a few announcements for its CRM efforts in recent months, including signing up to provide a heart rhythm monitoring and assessment component to a clinical study assessing ARCA biopharma’s genetically targeted cardiovascular drug therapy.
The medtech titan has long been a primary player in cardiac rhythm management, but has suffered some blows as pricing pressures and other environmental factors have slowed the market. The CRM market appears to have stabilized, Medtronic CFO Gary Ellis told investors earlier this year, but it’s unlikely to return to previous levels of growth.