Sales of drug-coated stents, Boston Scientific's most profitable products, came in at the low end of the company's guidance in the fourth quarter. Stents are the fragile little wire mesh cylinders that act like scaffolding to prop open clogged arteries.
And on the medical device maker's conference call this morning, BSX said that first quarter drug-coated stent sales will be sequentially--from the fourth quarter to the first quarter--up as much as $20 million to down as much as $40 million. That's likely due to the fresh competition it'll be facing from Medtronic's newly-approved drug-coated stent.
And don't forget that Abbott is waiting for Food and Drug Administration approval of its drug-coated stent, which under the strange terms of the Guidant deal Boston Scientific will get to sell under a different brand name.
BSX CEO Jim Tobin says his sales force is ready for battle. He told analysts and investors on the call that MDT's stent called "Endeavor" has "weaker efficacy and an absence of any safety advantage." During the q. and a. period on the call, another exec said a little cockily, "We have more drug-eluting stent data than any other company on earth."
Check out the video, and what Medtronic CEO Bill Hawkins has to say about that in this "First on CNBC" interview on "Squawk Box" Monday morning.