Drug-eluting stent usage is expected to increase slightly during 2008 as surgeons become more comfortable with improved new-product safety and more familiar with recent positive data on the benefits of using the stents in appropriate patient populations, according to an investor-analysis report released by the New York-based investment bank Cowen and Co.
According to the report, sales of drug-eluting stents in the U.S. are expected to increase a modest 1% annually between 2007 and 2012. The increase follows an estimated 36% drop in salesfrom $2.9 billion to $1.9 billionof drug-eluting stents during 2007. Declining sales were largely the result of two European studies presented in late 2006 and the Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation, or COURAGE, trial presented at the American College of Cardiology in March 2007. All three studies showed higher incidence of late-stage thrombosis in patients receiving drug-eluting stents than in those receiving bare-metal ones. But data released in late 2007 at the European Society of Cardiology and Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conferences found drug-eluting stents to be more effective than bare-metal ones and less-risky than previously believed when used in appropriate patients.
Cowen analysts also noted that while there is a chance that the CMS may this year change its reimbursement policies for drug-eluting stents, the analysts doubt any changes would involve further restrictions on the use of such stents. -- by Shawn Rhea
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