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St. Jude Medical cites slow first half for flat 2013 sales


By Jaimy Lee
Posted: January 22, 2014 - 4:15 pm ET
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St. Jude Medical, a manufacturer of pacemakers and other cardiac devices, said that sales were flat in 2013, due to a slow first half offset by improvements in sales growth overseas for some products in the second part of the year.

The St. Paul, Minn.-based company reported flat net sales of $5.5 billion in 2013. Net sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 rose by 4% to $1.42 billion, compared with $1.37 billion in the same quarter in 2012.

As hospitals have come under increased pressure to reduce costs, many have sought to negotiate better prices for medical supplies, often targeting expensive medical devices such as pacemakers and joint implants. That pressure on St. Jude's average selling price for cardiac-rhythm-management devices was similar in the fourth quarter to previous quarters, Chairman, President and CEO Daniel Starks said during a call with analysts.

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A company spokeswoman declined to provide information about St. Jude's pricing. According to the ECRI Institute, which gathers price trend data from roughly 1,200 hospitals and ancillary healthcare providers, the average price of St. Jude Medical's pacemakers in the U.S. fell to $3,700 in 2013, compared with $3,858 in 2012 and $4,211 in 2011.

Sales of cardiac-rhythm-management devices, including implantable cardioverter defibrillators and pacemakers, declined 2% to $2.78 billion in 2013. Sales for these devices rose 3% to $705 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Total pacemaker sales fell 6% to $1.04 billion last year, while sales of these devices rose 1% to $263 million in the fourth quarter. The company saw a “significant decline” in the sales of pacemakers in the first quarter of 2013, according to Starks.

The company's stronger fourth-quarter results for cardiac-rhythm-management devices may be due to gains in market share and a “continued rebound in underlying market fundamentals,” Danielle Antalffy, an analyst with Leerink Swann, wrote in a research note.

Starks, however, said the company is “not taking for granted that the market dynamics of the last two quarters continue into 2014.”

With the exception of the atrial fibrillation products, the rest of the company's product categories reported an increase in growth rate in the second half of the year compared with the first half on a constant currency year-over-year comparison, Starks said during the call with analysts.

While patient revenue in the U.S. continued to decline in the fourth quarter, growth in international sales increased. Several new products, such as the less-costly Endurity and Assurity pacemakers, which were launched in Europe in the second quarter, are not available in the U.S. at this time.

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee


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