St. Jude continues to see CRM sales slip as quarterly profit falls

Facing pressures in its cardiac rhythm management unit, St. Jude Medical ($STJ) saw its net earnings for fourth-quarter 2011 come in at $163 million, down from $206 million the previous year. The company was in part hurt by CRM sales, which dipped 4% to $728 million as the market for such products as pacemakers and ICDs remained tough. In fact, the CRM market shrank roughly 4% during 2011, St. Jude CEO Daniel Starks said during the call.

The company experienced some bumps in the last quarter, particularly after the FDA classified its Nov. 28 voluntary medical device advisory letter to physicians relating to its Riata and Riata ST silicone defibrillation leads as a Class I recall. The agency made its decision because of the potential risk of serious injury or patient death if affected devices malfunction.

St. Jude's net sales did increase 9% to $5.61 billion in 2011--up from just under $5.17 billion in 2010. Furthermore, its reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share of 86 cents was above the consensus estimate of 84 cents, RTTNews reports.

The earnings report comes roughly a week after some good news for the company. A data safety monitoring board recommended investigators halt enrollment in the company's Fame II study after seeing that fewer coronary artery disease patients were readmitted to the hospital when fractional flow reserve (FFR)-guided assessment was used in conjunction with optimal medical therapy.

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