An FDA advisory panel determined that Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific's drug-coated heart stents are safe for the approved patient population, despite recent concerns about increased risk of blood clots. Doctors have been questioning the accelerated adoption of these stents after a rise in blood clotting was seen in a limited number of patients. Three years ago, drug-eluting stents were deemed a major advance when it was determined that the drugs reduced the chances that the treated artery would re-close. There is a question as to whether safety concerns apply to both Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific products equally. Analysts estimate that this market is worth $6 billion a year and 6 million patients have been implanted with the product worldwide. Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic Inc. sell versions of drug-coated stents internationally and plan to enter the U.S. market in mid-2007.
• Sources: Press Release, Scientific American, Reuters, TheStreet.com, MarketWatch.com.
• Related commentary: Wall Street Cautious Over Drug-Coated Stent Risks, Heartening Test Results May Pump ICD Makers -- Barron's, JNJ: A Healthy Blue-Chip Opportunity, Johnson & Johnson: Stock Climbs While Valuation Falls, Heartening Test Results May Pump ICD Makers.
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX), Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT). ETFs: iShares Dow Jones US Pharmaceutical Indx (NYSEARCA:IHE), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (NYSEARCA:IYH), Pharmaceutical HOLDRS (NYSEARCA:PPH).
Seeking Alpha's news summaries are combined into a pre-market briefing called Wall Street Breakfast. Get Wall Street Breakfast by email -- it's free and takes only a few seconds to sign up.