Saturday, March 09, 2013

The PREVAIL Flail: A Contrarian View

"The good thing about bad news - it sells."

At first, it seemed like such an embarrassment.  A brand new therapy for treating atrial fibrillation is slated as the day's Late Breaking Clinical Trial at the 2103 Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology meeting.  A "press release" containing the results of the trial is sent to investors at 6:30 AM PST, breaking a pre-specified embargo time of 9:10 AM PST.  In response, the American College of Cardiology pulls the presentation.

And with that, the Twitterverse erupts.  Scandal.  Intrigue.  An heir of deception.  News organizations, some of whom have been on the receiving end of such scandal, snicker and publish accountings of the event, detail by gory detail.  The principle investigator describes his disappointment as "an awful event"  and doctors  who attended the session feel "cheated," "penalized," and found the event "unhelpful."

And then the results (as they are known) appear anyway in the Wall Street Journal, on Forbes, and nearly a hundred other places on the Internet, instantly.

Can it get any better for marketing? 

You see the Watchman device needs some help, especially in the era where at least one novel oral anticoagulant has shown not just equivalency, but a mortality advantage over warfarin, Watchman's trial comparator.

And Watchman has had the difficult time getting FDA approval even though its competitor's device, the Lariat, was (incredibly) already "approved" for sale in the US using the FDA's own 510k exemption. 

So Boston Scientific should feel good about the negative buzz about their trial.  It'll help overcome their sales headwind provided, of course, their device gets approved by the FDA.


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