Boston Sci. CEO Slams Medtronic, St. Jude Products

Ray Elliott, Boston Scientific's CEO, said Medtronic's Protecta implantable defibrillator is a "catch-up product" and called one of St. Jude's new products "99 percent hype."

Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott slammed products made by two of the state's largest medical device manufacturers-Medtronic, Inc., and St. Jude Medical, Inc.-at Monday's 36th annual Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc., Health Care Conference.

During his presentation, Elliott said that Medtronic's Protecta implantable defibrillator is a “catch-up product,” adding that Boston Scientific has had the technology since 2008.

“I know Medtronic wouldn't describe it that way, but then they'd be wrong,” Elliott said.

Medtronic's Protecta family of implantable defibrillators, which are designed to deliver therapeutic shocks only when appropriate, were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late last month.

Fridley-based Medtronic did not present at the conference, but company spokeswoman Wendy Dougherty told Twin Cities Business that the Protecta technology is new and that studies have validated its use. She added that the product is not the result of reprogramming existing device settings.

Elliott did concede that Medtronic is ahead of Boston Scientific in terms of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. Medtronic's Revo MRI SureScan Pacing System-the first and only pacemaker in the United States specifically designed for use in MRI machines-was approved by the FDA in February.

“We won't be there for a couple of years,” Elliott said.

He then moved onto Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical and called the company's Quartet lead “99 percent hype.” The Quartet product is a ventricular pacing lead that is not yet approved for use in the United States.

“It's a good marketing story . . . but it is hype. The characteristics that are built into the product are not incremental benefits to the patients,” Elliott said.

St. Jude CFO John Heinmiller spoke at the conference after Elliott. When asked about Elliott's comments, Heinmiller said that St. Jude “wouldn't make comments about a new product before it gets to the U.S. market.”

“I guess if you don't have a new product to talk about, then you have to talk about somebody else's,” Heinmiller added.

Medtronic and St. Jude are both among the state's 20-largest public companies based on revenue. Boston Scientific is based in Natick, Massachusetts, but employs about 5,000 in Minnesota.