At the end of August, Medtronic Inc. (Minneapolis) announced that it was initiating a nearly $100 million marketing and public relations campaign to rebuild the market for implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, which has suffered from lower consumer confidence since a spate of recalls hit the sector last year. "Candidly, we were surprised by the extent to which the U.S. ICD market softened during the quarter and particularly at quarter end, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that this doesn't happen again," said Medtronic CEO Art Collins during an investor conference call. For the first quarter of fiscal 2007, Medtronic reported ICD revenue of $673 million, a decrease of 6% over the year-ago period.
During the investor call, Medtronic executives highlighted initiatives designed "to reignite market growth by reaching more of the patients who are eligible for an ICD, and to better position Medtronic to gain share in the future."
"Many hospitals and clinics have made little progress in integrating ICD guidelines into their protocols or procedures," said William A. Hawkins, president and COO of Medtronic. "This provides a significant opportunity, which we plan to address through programs such as the Sudden Cardiac Awareness Partners Prevention Program, which we have initiated in hospitals and clinics to help identify patients who meet the criteria for device therapy."
"Another important initiative is a multi-million-dollar, multiyear national awareness campaign aimed at physicians, patients, and hospital administrators to create awareness of both the risk and prevalence of sudden cardiac death, together with the effectiveness and reliability of ICD therapy," he added.
Medtronic planned to kick off the campaign during the second quarter of fiscal 2007. As a part of the program, the company will recruit voluntary patient ambassadors.
"We are also undertaking our own national 'Get with the Guidelines' initiative and will be working with industry partners and medical associations like the American College of Cardiology and Heart Rhythm Society to drive the adoption of the ICD guidelines throughout the healthcare system," Hawkins said.