Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Increase in Use of Drug-Coated Stents, Despite Past Safety Concerns
Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Use of Coated Stents on the Rise, by Keith J. Winstein. Here's an excerpt:
Drug-coated heart stents, whose U.S. sales were hard hit over safety concerns in the past two years, appear to be mounting a comeback.
In June, 73% of stent procedures in the U.S. used a coated stent, according to the Goodroe Data Warehouse unit of VHA Inc., of Irving, Texas, based on a survey of 60 U.S. hospitals. That is up from 62% in December -- which was the lowest level in several years -- and puts coated stents' popularity at levels not seen since February 2007, when a scientific firestorm raged over the devices' safety.
Coronary stents are tiny scaffolds that relieve chest pains by propping open clogged arteries that feed the heart. About a million Americans a year receive stents. The fanciest models are coated with drugs that prevent scar tissue from reclogging an artery and cost about $2,000, making them far more profitable than uncoated, bare-metal stents, which sell for less than half the price.