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Boston Scientific Wins Major Stent Contract: CNBC's Huckman

Boston Scientific has landed an exclusive contract to provide drug-coated stents to the Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation's most prominent cardiology centers, CNBC pharmaceuticals reporter Mike Huckman has learned.

Cleveland Clinic has signed a two-year contract to buy only Boston Scientific stents in a deal valued at about $18 million a year, a source told Huckman.

A spokesperson for the clinic said Boston Scientific has "preferred vendor status." But Huckman said two sources, including one who was very close to the contract negotiations, said it's an "exclusive" deal.

Although the contract isn't huge in the multi-billion dollar stent business, the prominence of the Cleveland Clinic is a big boost for Boston Scientific and a potential blow to rival Johnson &Johnson, which has been selling stents to the clinic.

Because stents--and drug coated ones in particular--have such high profit margins, every little shift in market share can have an impact on the bottom line.

This is a major turnaround by the Cleveland Clinic, which only two years ago stopped using Boston Scientific's stent following a recall over an implantation device problem.

"This was not a decision based on science," a source told Huckman. "It was financially driven."
The labs where stents are implanted are profit centers for most hospitals.

Stents are the tiny wire mesh tubes that prop open clogged arteries. Drug-coated stents have come under increased scrutiny recently because of the possibility they could cause blood clots. Huckman said this deal was struck before the blood clot issue came became widely known.

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