June 2005 Archives:
June 23, 2005
That's what the tag line at the bottom of
every web page on "CardiologyChannel.com" states. So
what's a patient to think when they go to the Angioplasty article
and the first thing they see is::
Yes, right under the article title "Angioplasty",
but before the actual text, is an ad like the one above -- and yes,
there's a small disclaimer link below it -- but it's the boldest
thing you see on the page, and it's selling you the 21st Century
equivalent of snake-oil. "Clean up your arteries with a liquid
EDTA system". My body, my Chevy! Hold the stent and pass the
Sure, it's a free country. But my
question is why CardiologyChannel places ads for unproven, unregulated,
no prescription needed "remedies" in such prominence (we
get patients writing in to our site, asking if such remedies are
valid or scams). I'd also have to assume that since these types of
ads run regularly, then someone's making a buck on this stuff (I've
written more extensively about these pool-cleaner remedies in an
earlier post). It's one thing to get these ads on search engines,
etc. but quite another when seen in the context of patient education
that is "physician developed and monitored". It would make
you think that someone with letters after their name thinks this
stuff might work.
June 22, 2005
Your piece about the J&J patent trial in today's
Motley Fool, titled "Stent
Wars: Jury Strikes Back", is just pushing the George Lucas thing beyond
the point of interest (only George Lucas is allowed to do that, and he has).
I mean your previous "Stent Wars" articles (Revenge
of the Bypass and The
Market-Share Menace) have appeared over the past year or so, but I first
used the analogy way back in 2002 in my feature on Drug
Eluting Stents, specifically to describe litigation and patent disputes.
Therefore I claim damages for analogy copyright infringement! But having no
high-powered legal team, I'll just use up the remaining three episodes and
be done with it.
"Attack of the Clones" -- definitely
coming soon to a cath lab near you. Medtronic, Abbott, Conor and
more have drug-eluting/coated stents in trials and are looking for
European launches in the next year or so.
"Return of the Jedi" -- In the
early 60's, angioplasty Knights Bill
Cook and Charlie
Dotter met at a radiology conference in Chicago and out of this
encounter came the guide wires and catheters that began this whole
field of medicine -- but angioplasty started in the leg.
Thirty years later Cook manufactured the first FDA-approved coronary
stent, co-invented by Gary Roubin and Cesare Gianturco. Cook bowed
out of the coronary business last year, but now has a peripheral
paclitaxel stent in clinical trials that may prove to alleviate
the symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) that have so far
resisted both surgical and interventional therapies. Feel the Force.
And last, but it actually was first, "A
New Hope" -- I believe that in the short run, bioabsorbable
stents will be developed to do all the helpful things that metal
stents now do (repair dissections, keep arteries propped open,
keep arteries from restenosing) but will over time be absorbed
into the tissue so that any late term lingering effects and threat
of stent thrombosis will disappear. And then molecular biologists
will discover the cause of vascular narrowing and prevent this
disease that has become the number one killer.
By the way, Fool, some thoughts on your closing
comment that there is concern about Boston Scientific's Liberte stent
getting blocked from the market by J&J. In today's New York Times, Barnaby
J. Feder opines that this could antagonize doctors and so there
is a pressure to work out a financial agreement. I would add: can
you imagine what might happen when patients (oh yeah, them!) found
out that they can't be given a potentially superior second-generation
stent because of a patent dispute. It won't be pretty.
June 21, 2005
Stent Trials: You Know, The Kind With Lawyers...
At the March ACC, we got results from the clinical
stent trials: the Taxus and Cypher drug-eluting stents from
Boston Scientific and Cordis went head-to-head. Which was better?
But today the question was "which was first?" and
a different kind of stent trial came to a conclusion in
a courtroom in Wilmington, Delaware. After only three hours, the
jury delivered a verdict in a much-awaited patent infringement case.
And they found that Boston Scientific's stents (the Express, the
Taxus and the new Liberte) all infringed on two patents owned by
J&J / Cordis. Earlier this year, an earlier Boston Scientific
stent, the NIR, also was found to infringe on the Palmaz-Schatz patent
owned by Cordis.
Oh yeah, that NIR stent -- it was actually manufactured
an Israeli company privately-held by Judith and Kobi Richter; the
NIR was distributed exclusively by Boston Scientific -- until the
relationship fell apart -- and yes, that lawsuit starts
on Monday. It's full of bitterness and somewhat personal -- the
Richters feel that Boston Scientific dealt with them in bad faith
and Boston's fear was that the Richters might suddenly slow down
the manufacturing supply if they weren't happy with the way things
were going. And then there's "Project
Independence", a secret company set up in Dublin by Boston
Scientific to reverse engineer the NIR stent so they could manufacture
it themselves if they had to.
And then there's the money. Damages to Boston
Scientific on the Cordis suit may reach a billion bucks. The Richters
also asked for a billion bucks during mediation, but Boston Scientific
reportedly offered them $800 million; they said "no"! Can't
we all just get along?
Think you're finished? Boston Scientific is suing
J&J / Cordis because they say the drug-eluting coating on the
Cypher stent violates a patent (called the "Ding" patent)
that Boston Scientific holds. That trial starts tomorrow.
Mom and Dad, you were right. I should have been