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In the Eye of the Storm

Executive Summary

Over the past several years, increased public scrutiny, from both Federal agencies and the general media, have focused on the close collaborations between product companies and the physicians who help them develop and test new products, alleging that some relationships are too close leading to physicians who put personal financial gain ahead of patient care. Though it was recently cleared by the Department of Justice in a high profile whistle blower case, few companies have found themselves as closely watched as spine leader Medtronic Sofamor Danek.

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Looking back at 2007, the performance of the medical industry seems strong, from blockbuster M&A to a better-than-expected result of a years-long DOJ investigation into the orthopedics industry. Even Boston Scientific seemed finally to be turning the corner. Drug-eluting stents (DES) got a second chance as data presented from several trials showed better mortality than with bare-metal stents. Venture capitalists poured even more money into device start-ups, both young and old. The confidence shown by venture investors was, not surprisingly, reflected in an IPO market that appeared to continue its recent rebound. But there are also some concerns: company consolidation, increased safety concerns and litigation revolving around physician-manufacturer relationships are causing some to wonder how long the foundation on which the industry's strong showing of recent years can sustain.

Trends for the New Year: Can Medtech Build on the Success of 2007?

Looking back at 2007, the performance of the medical industry seems strong, from blockbuster M&A to a better-than-expected result of a years-long DOJ investigation into the orthopedics industry. Even Boston Scientific seemed finally to be turning the corner. Drug-eluting stents (DES) got a second chance as data presented from several trials showed better mortality than with bare-metal stents. Venture capitalists poured even more money into device start-ups, both young and old. The confidence shown by venture investors was, not surprisingly, reflected in an IPO market that appeared to continue its recent rebound. But there are also some concerns: company consolidation, increased safety concerns and litigation revolving around physician-manufacturer relationships are causing some to wonder how long the foundation on which the industry's strong showing of recent years can sustain.

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