Abbott and Medtronic are sharing a bulk discount deal to sell stents at 135 hospitals

Medtronic ($MDT) and Abbott ($ABT) have collaborated on a discount deal that makes the two stent giants preferred vendors for the costly medical devices at 135 U.S. hospitals.

The three-year contracts come under SharedClarity, a new joint venture in healthcare cost reduction based in Phoenix, Modern Healthcare reports. SharedClarity's member hospitals have agreed to buy a majority of their bare-metal and drug-eluting stents from Abbott and Medtronic, according to the report.

The hospitals will get "significant double-digit savings," SharedClarity President Mark West told Modern Healthcare. He declined to get any more specific--but McLaren Health Care, a 10-hospital system that is one of the owners of SharedClarity, said it will save 40% on stents this year with the contracts. McLaren performs between 4,000 and 5,000 stent procedures a year, according to Modern Healthcare.

McLaren Health Care CFO Dave Mazurkiewicz--Courtesy of SharedClarity

"If we're going to make healthcare much more affordable and make the costs of the services we provide much more attractive to the patients and purchasers of healthcare, this is going to help us achieve that goal," McLaren CFO Dave Mazurkiewicz told Modern Healthcare. Mazurkiewicz is also on the board of managers at SharedClarity.

Stents have become increasingly commoditized as clinical studies demonstrate little difference from one major maker to another, Modern Healthcare reports. "A new stent coming on the market is not getting a premium price," Decision Resources Group analyst Ian Swanson told the publication. "All the hospital systems and purchasing systems are putting pressure to continue driving (prices) down."

That picture may change with the introduction of new technology. A German study published last week found bioresorbable stents made by Kyoto Medical Planning showed that the new devices, which dissolve back into the body when their task is complete, work just as well as their bare-metal older cousins.

 - read Modern Healthcare's report

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