Trend: Heart stent maker markets directly to patients

Here's something you don't see every day. A heart stent manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Cordis Corp., is mounting a national marketing campaign aimed directly at consumers--an unusual move even in a time where direct-to-consumer pharma marketing has saturated the media. Cordis is promoting its drug-coated Cypher stent with a 60-second television ad running on sports programs and cable news, as well as placing print advertisements in national magazines and newspapers. The ads pitch the stent as a means of relieving angina pain and other symptoms, and touts it as the most-studied stent available.

Cordis is marketing direct to consumers not only to reassure them that stents are safe--given some recent concerns over their potential for causing clots--but also to position itself ahead of the release of two new stents, one by Medtronic and one by Abbott Laboratories. Both are expected to hit the market soon. Until now, Cypher has had one major competitor, the Taxus from Boston Scientific. Meanwhile, when Medtronic enters the market, it too is expected to do some consumer advertising.

To find out more about consumer stent advertising:
- read this article from The New York Times

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