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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • Coming to a TV near you...

    Medicine
    Delivering a Jolt To Defibrillators
    By THOMAS M. BURTON
    January 13, 2007; Page A2

    Starting this coming week, television viewers will be treated to smiling faces, soothing narration and cheerful melodies in ads about ... sudden cardiac arrest.

    Medical-device maker Medtronic Inc., the world's No. 1 manufacturer of surgically implanted heart defibrillators by market share, will take its message about the cardiac electrical devices directly to the public, in print and television ads. Such "direct to consumer" ads have been a staple of the pharmaceutical industry for years. But they are unusual in the device business.

    For big drug makers, ads have ginned up billions of dollars in sales, but they have caused big headaches as well. For instance, the public clamored for heavily promoted painkillers such as Merck & Co.'s Vioxx and Pfizer Inc.'s Celebrex. Millions of people demanded the new pills when aspirin would have been fine for most. Then alleged cardiac side effects appeared. In Vioxx's case, potential liability from heart attacks was vast and Merck pulled the drug off the market.

    Medtronic, of Minneapolis, and the entire $6 billion defibrillator business, are beset with the opposite sort of problem. The majority of the public doesn't exactly know what "sudden cardiac arrest" is, frequently confusing the condition with a heart attack. So hundreds of thousands of people don't know that a defibrillator might actually save their lives. Also, highly publicized but rare malfunctions two years ago in defibrillators made by Guidant, now part of Boston Scientific Corp., predisposed many people against the devices. Sales growth ebbed throughout the industry.

    Yet an estimated 335,000 Americans die annually of sudden cardiac arrest, in which the heart's electrical system goes haywire and the heart can't pump blood. More than 95% of sudden-cardiac-arrest cases are immediately fatal -- but an implanted defibrillator can dispatch an electrical jolt to correct the aberrant heartbeat. Survival rates are far better with heart attacks, in which a coronary artery supplying the heart becomes blocked.

    The message of Medtronic's ads is simple: In thousands of patients who have congestive heart failure or who have suffered prior heart attacks, the devices save lives because such people are at elevated risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Having an implanted cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, the ads say, can mean "10,000 more kisses...200 more football wins...An ICD could give you many more bedtime stories, tons of hugs, and one more thing -- peace of mind."

    For Medtronic, the TV spots are an effort to jump-start a business grown sluggish. The defibrillator industry was riding a sales-growth rate of 20% and higher until 2005. Now one analyst, Piper Jaffray's Thomas Gunderson, pegs likely U.S. industry sales growth for this year and next at no more than 8%. For Medtronic, defibrillators are expected to make up more than $3 billion of the company's estimated $12.5 billion in fiscal 2007 sales.

    So will these ads lead to overprescribing, too? That seems unlikely, because getting a defibrillator isn't like popping a pill: No one in his right mind would volunteer for surgery to get a $30,000 electrical device installed, unless it was a medical necessity.
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

  • #2
    Re: Coming to a TV near you...

    I'm not too sure if I like this. I don't like all the drug commercials either. I'm pretty well versed in medicine and I still have yet to go barging into my doctor's office demanding the next new wonderdrug to help my insignifigant problems. Not only are the doctor's being pressured by the drug companies to push their drugs but they buy them lunchs, equipment, and sometimes the docs get paid to go to "information" sessions all over the world. My pain management doc just got sent to Germany for one of these sessions the session was two hours and they paid for five days.

    It even said in the article that most people don't know the difference between a SCD and an MI. So, I'm sure you are going to get quite a few people that have had an MI say they demand to have this device and even people who have not demand it. I mean how many people ask for antibiotics for their cold when the doctor knows good and well it will do them no good at all but does it just so the patient feels good about it.

    It is ok to be informed about your medical choices but it should be our doctor's say and that say should be unbiased without the pressures from everyone. It should be what is best for the patient's well being not for everyone else's profit margin.

    by the way are they going to acknowledge that SCD occurs in young people in these commercials?

    getting off my soap box now!

    Mary S.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Coming to a TV near you...

      Hey Mary,
      I hear they are coming out with some new ICD’s that also work as a phone, a location finder, can get TV reception and of course a computer also. The only problem is that the battery pack weighs 45 pounds and has to be recharged every night. Talk about the plugged in generation.
      Burt

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Coming to a TV near you...

        I have to say that I have to disagree with you on this on Mary. While I do not like most of the ads for the pharma industry I see this as a different approach. We all know there are pills available for lots of different things and the commercials try to push us to ask about them. This is different not everyone in the public knows what ICD's are heck some do not really know what a pacemaker is or how they can change a life. I had spoken with people at several device companies about public awareness and it is all part of a much larger issue - AWARENESS of the risks of SCA - Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
        These commercials are the stepping stone to get people to understand - they are done in a manner as to not push treatment but educate. The only way many in the public have heard about ICD's is in recall notices and lawyer ads - not the best means of communicating the benefits of ICD's.

        You all know that I have been rather vocal about the past failings of the device industry but you also know that without these devices many with HCM would not be alive today. There is a balance that must be struck between corporate responsibility and community outreach and I think Medtronic is doing a really great job in this area.

        Best wishes,
        Lisa
        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Coming to a TV near you...

          Visit the new website:
          http://www.whatsinside.com/

          When you visit the resource page you will see a familar link...one to the HCMA!

          Thanks!
          Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
          YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

          Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
          lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
          Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
          Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
          Currently not obstructed
          Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Coming to a TV near you...

            Let's all keep in mind that ad campaigns are very expensive. For that reason, a projected ROI (Return on Investment) has to be behind spending at a corporation such as Medtronics.

            They can though get a double hit. They can get good will and increase their sales. An awareness campaign will and should be expected to increase ICD sales.

            In this case, I think it is good for both sides, the consumer and the manufacturer. I agree with Lisa that there is a segment of the population that doesn't even understand what an ICD is. Heck, they don't probably know what the AED's are on the walls that have popped up in public places. I donated my AED to my church and there were many people there that didn't know what it was. Education in this area in priceless. If Medtronics wants to educate people on what is out there, I think that is good.

            We all though need to keep in mind that the multi-billion dollar field that Medtronics plays in is a business. And business motives are behind all large spends.

            Thanks for the heads up Lisa !

            Dave

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Coming to a TV near you...

              Lets be clear here - Medtronic is a business and they are out to make money, employee people and make investors happy BUT they are also in a business that saves lives and we benefit from their work - I am 110% sure there are lines of business they could go into that do not carry the same potential risks - but the benefits are not nearly as sweet.
              Fact is we need them to be strong and successful as we need Boston Scientific and St. Jude to do the same. We need them to be the best they can be and we need people to know about the product so we can save lives.

              This is the USA and we are capitalists make no mistake about that - but also do not underestimate that there are good people at these companies who understand that they save lives and honestly I think for some it is like an addiction, once you have had a taste of it you want more - save one life you save the world...together these firms have save thousands of lives and impacted millions of people.

              Please share your thoughts about the campaign and think of ways that you can bring this message to your community!

              Best to all,
              Lisa
              Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
              YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

              Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
              lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
              Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
              Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
              Currently not obstructed
              Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                I'm "thrilled" to hear this news!! I aslo see both sides of this. I experience the benefit of these devices by getting to spend extra days with my husband. He wouldn't still be with us without the pacer componenet in his ICD. I have seen many patients given an oppurtunity to live longer and healthier lives by having an ICD implanted. It gave them "comfort and confidence", which took anxiety away and allowed them to start living "normal" lives.

                Any doc that I have worked with, saw personally with Tommy, or been in a discussion with about "pacemakers and ICD's thoroughly believe in investigating the need for the device. I seriously doubt that these ads will have docs ordering ICD's haphazardly.

                I'm mostly excited about the "public awareness" and "patient education". There are many who have no idea what a pace maker or ICD is. I know that many look at me "like I've lost my mind" when I ask if they have one, while taking their medical history for the first time. I have to explan what these devices are and why people get them daily.

                Remember (as Lisa always says) Knowledge is Power. Let's empower people through these ads!

                Love and Prayers!
                Sherry
                tommysgirl wishes you a blessed day with many laughs and smiles along the way!

                Wife of Tommy Hall passed 9/22/07
                HOCM, (AA x2, CABG, RFA, Myectomy x2, Maze)
                Tomy 13
                Amber 25
                grandchildren Aiden 6, Maddie 4

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                  I've seen them already. They are very tastefully done. I am glad for the teaching and love the link to the HCMA on the whats inside web site.

                  Pam
                  Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
                  Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
                  Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
                  SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
                  [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
                  Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
                  Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
                  Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                    I saw a comercial tonight for the Medtronic ICD it was a good comercial I thought

                    Shirley
                    Diagnosed 2003
                    Myectomy 2-23-2004
                    Husband: Ken
                    Son: John diagnosed 2004
                    Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

                    Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                      Greetings - a very interesting discussion. I can agree that the advertisement of some pharmaceuticals may be excessive. That said, these devices aren't as likely to be abused the way a local prescription might.

                      Possible results of this campaign:
                      1 - more awareness which might help others identify a potential problem currently undiagnosed - and save lives
                      2 - more awareness which might help others understand the issues those of us already identified experience - and live with on a daily basis
                      3 - Profit. What happens to the profit? The shareholders (the owners of the company) are happy and hopefully will be rewarded with higher stock prices.
                      4 - Profit. Higher profits allow the companies to consider additional research and development - which benefits us all.
                      5 - Profit. In our capitalist society profit is a motivator. If other companies see that there is an profit opportunity in the device market, perhaps they will get involved, and hopefully discover even better technology.
                      6 - Lower costs? The higher the number of devices sold allows the companies to amortize their R&D costs over more units, perhaps, lowering their device prices.

                      I don't really see a downside to this advertising campaign. It isn't like it is another toe fungus ad!

                      Have a great day!

                      Andy P

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                        The cynic in me can't help but wonder if this is some attempt at reducing the impact of Guident/Boston Sci and St Jude.....Is Medtronic just trying to get a BIGGER piece of the pie????
                        53yr old. History of A-Fib(been cardioverted 25+ times!!) Septal Myectomy at Mayo Clinic in 1996. ICD placed in 2000. Had tricuspid valve replaced in Jun 2007 - Feelin GREAT !!
                        Goal is to have a single-digit golf handicap....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                          Yes and no. I think the industry is attempting to recover from the drop in ICD placements post the "guidant issue of 2005". The add is not very MEDTRONIC focused it is ICD treatment focused and it will actually help all the manufacturers. At the time of implant the choice of what device is used is left up to the doctor as to what is best for the patient.
                          I am reminded of that song... You can get here by caravan, you can get here in a big balloon, I dont care how you get here just get here if you can....

                          Lets hope those in need get to the doc and get protected!

                          Lisa
                          Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
                          YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

                          Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
                          lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
                          Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
                          Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
                          Currently not obstructed
                          Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                            I don't like the idea. I was speaking recently with one one of the good doctors at NEMC. His opinion was quite simply,that people were demanding AICDs. Because of liability issues, they usually get them. We all suffer from higher health insurance and malpactice costs just so some twit who thinks he or she needs one can get one.
                            I know this sounds terrible, but I've spent too many years fighting the victim mentality to deal with it now. I'm so sick of people who define their lives by an illness.
                            AICDs are useful tools, but they are just that. If mine ever goes off it will either save my life or not. Them's the facts of our problem, good people, and if we planted AICDs in every heart patient in the WORLD- we can still die.
                            I'm so thankful for the medical advances I have experienced in my life, but I don't need this year's medical prpaganda any more than I need a new cell phone every year. I got my first AICD 10 years ago and it was a bit of novelty. In 10 years, it's gone from being groundbreaking to being advertised on daytime TV. Can't wait for the Superbowl ad...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Coming to a TV near you...

                              What a crock...

                              This ad campaign smacks of fear-mongering designed to drive patients to their doctors demanding the things.

                              10,000 kisses? 687 walks in the rain? 996 bedtime stories? Gimme a break.

                              Let's say I walk into my cardio's office tomorrow and say: "Hey I saw this advertisement on television last night about ICDs"... what exactly is to be his or her expected reaction? "My God, I've never heard of such a thing! We better get one of those in you right away." I don't think so. The people who need to be informed about ICDs and how to appropriately prescribe them are the medical professionals, not the television-viewing public.

                              Medtronic isn't trying to educate anybody about sudden cardiac death. They are trying to move product off the shelves any which way they can, and they are playing on consumer's fears to do it. They figure if they can't get more doctors to prescribe ICDs, then they'll just go through their patients. And in today's lawsuit-hungry climate, they'll get them too.

                              Jim
                              Last edited by mtlieb; 01-29-2007, 04:14 PM.
                              "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

                              Comment

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