Healthcare Business News

Sales of da Vinci robotic surgery systems continue to flag

By Jaimy Lee
Posted: July 22, 2014 - 8:00 pm ET

Intuitive Surgical saw its revenue and income fall again in the second quarter as sales of its da Vinci robotic surgery systems continued to drop.

Sales of new systems were down 32% in the second quarter (PDF) compared with the same period last year, driving revenue down 11% to $512.2 million and net income down 34% to $104 million. Intuitive also reported lower sales, revenue and income for the first three months of the year.

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The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company shipped 96 systems during the second quarter of 2014, compared with 143 in the second quarter of 2013. Almost half of those systems were Intuitive Surgical’s latest model, the da Vinci Xi, which received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in April.

Worldwide procedure volume for the company’s products went up 9%, led by growth in general surgeries in the U.S. and a higher number of urologic procedures outside of the U.S. The company expects between 5% and 8% in procedure growth for the year. But that number was 16% in 2013.

The use of robotic surgery systems in gynecologic procedures such as hysterectomies continued to decline, and that trend is not expected to reverse, company officials noted during a call with investors. The “macro-environment is unchanged,” President and CEO Gary Guthart said.

Some medical societies, physicians and insurers have questioned the safety and costs of robotic surgery, particularly for gynecologic procedures. The scrutiny, which includes patient lawsuits, has dampened use of the da Vinci surgical systems.

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee

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