MASSDEVICE ON CALL — St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) dialed back the rhetoric against prominent cardiologist Dr. Robert Hauser, whose linking the device titan’s recalled Riata defibrillator leads with 22 deaths from internal electrical problems was published in the Heart Rhythm Journal last month.
"Let me just start by saying that very sincerely we have a lot of respect for Dr. Hauser’s contribution over the years to raising awareness about medical device safety issues," chairman, president & CEO Daniel Starks said during a conference call with investors today. "We have far more in common than not. We are both focused on patient safety. We are both focused on getting as much accurate information about medical devices’ performance to physicians as possible to help them make the best decisions about their patients. "
Starks has previously gone on the record calling out Hauser’s research, going so far as to call criticisms of the Riata recall a "whisper campaign" forged by rivals looking to gain ground in the slumping cardiac rhythm management arena by casting doubt on St. Jude’s newer Durata leads.
"This has become a topic of competitive marketing," CEO Daniel Starks told the New York Times last week. "We have competitors going to physicians and informing them, either incompletely or mistakenly, of a competitively hostile view of the facts."
Since then, the company has toned things down while maintaining that Hauser’s report was inaccurate at best, MedCity News reported..
"Unfortunately the Heart Rhythm Journal published the manuscript submitted by Dr. Hauser contained important errors that were not identified during the peer review process and were widely circulated and really this just put everyone in an awkward position," Starks said today. "Keeping in mind that this information is about life-saving medical devices, it’s important for us to continue to inform patients with the most accurate information that we can and continue to inform physicians. So we are now working with the Heart Rhythm Journal to address this issue in a way that will be most helpful for patients and physicians and we think that’s important for us to do so."
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