If drug-eluting stents were on the shelves at Costco, most value-conscious customers wouldn't buy. A new Swiss study has found that the coated stents aren't cost-effective for most patients--and wouldn't be even if prices were cut substantially. In fact, it would be "almost impossible" for the more expensive stents to become cost-effective in low-risk patients. That doesn't hold out much hope to manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific.
But here's one positive to comfort stent makers. They're a good value for a subset of high-risk patients, concluded the study, published in this week's The Lancet. In these patients, who had small-vessel or bypass-graft stenting, the drug-coated versions were cost-effective. In some cases, the coated stents saved money that would have been spent treating complications.
-read The Lancet's release about the study