Boston Scientific Ad for Watchman Medical Device Takes Shot at Blood Thinners! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

This spring, viewers in four U.S. metro areas — Tampa, Detroit, San Diego, and Phoenix — saw the first television commercial aired by Boston Scientific, a 38-year-old maker of medical devices.


The ad, aimed at families of the millions of older Americans with irregular heartbeats, portrays a distraught adult daughter driving her father to the hospital. A doctor tells them about one of the Marlborough, Mass., company’s newest products: an implantable device called Watchman that seals a pocket in a patient’s heart chamber to prevent blood clots that can trigger strokes.


Such televised pitches are rare for medical device companies, which, unlike prescription drug makers, traditionally have steered clear of consumer marketing. But they are part of a strategy by Boston Scientific to promote a new generation of products designed to propel it into a top position in the markets for cardiac, endoscopic, urological, and other devices.


Boston Scientific’s chief medical officer, Ian Meredith — an interventional cardiologist and researcher recently recruited from Australia — conceded there was “a lot of hand-wringing” over whether to launch the television commercial. Ultimately, the company decided it was important to educate patients with atrial fibrillation, who bruise and bleed from the anticoagulant blood thinners typically prescribed to dissolve clots. Executives are gauging the ad’s effectiveness before determining whether to air it in additional markets, such as Boston.


“This is a very socially impactful ad,” Meredith said. “It’s really identifying that there’s an alternative for people who can’t take anticoagulation or who are struggling with anticoagulation [medicines]. And a lot of primary care doctors don’t realize this option’s available.”


Further Reading:

  • “Ad: 7th Annual Digital Marketing for Medical Devices - Save 15% use code PMN15”;
  • “Medical Device DTC Ads: Spooky, Outrageous Claims & Unregulated!”;
  • "Device DTC: Imagine How Far It Will Go!";