This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 19, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: It's been quite a year for the medical device makers on Wall Street, thanks to some new legislation on Capitol Hill, and a famous spokesmen like Jerry Lewis, these companies are getting quite a bit of buzz.
The industry that helps people lead healthier lives, seeing a healthy boost in its bottom lines. Shares of Medtronic coming to mind, up 16 percent this year. That's the amount the S&P has been down.
Last night, the company announced one of its best quarters ever, close to 20 percent growth. Here's the man who heads all that up, Medtronic CEO Art Collins.
Art, good to see.
CAVUTO: So obviously you are delivering in a market that so far is not. What is leading this?
COLLINS: Well, as you indicated, we had a strong quarter. It was strong across the board but probably the two areas that got most attention was our cardiac rhythm management business. This business comprised about 48 percent of the total corporation pacemakers, implantible cardio-verter-defibrillators to treat a number of cardiac problems, up 26 percent. And also within that, the implantible cardio-verter-defibrillator market up 56 percent.
And then the second business that got a lot of attention is our spinal business. We are the world leaders in products used to treat spinal problems. We have a number of new products, less invasive approaches, and a new product that actually uses a growth factor with a device. And it was up over 35 percent.
CAVUTO: And we should say one of these spinal products is something that Jerry Lewis is using, right? to go cut down on the pain, right?
COLLINS: Well, Jerry Lewis has a pacemaker-type product that rather than have its electrodes or leads go to the heart, it goes to the spinal cord in order to treat very bad pain. Jerry Lewis, because of his pratfalls early in his career, had a significant amount damage to his spine, and actually was addicted on painkillers, got cleaned up on that but he still had the pain until received our neuro-stimulator. And now he can live pain-free life.
CAVUTO: In fact, he's starting this campaign, funded in part, I think, through Medtronic, right? about a pain-free way.
COLLINS: Well, if people watched his telethon on muscular dystrophy, he talked about his life and the difference that our neuro-stimulator in his spine makes in his life.
CAVUTO: The other problems he has with the bloating from the steroids and all that, is just a completely different issue. But the pain part that he had from the pratfalls and all that, that is something you are addressing.
COLLINS: That's right.
CAVUTO: But he has got to be your best commercial yet, right?
COLLINS: Well, he's certainly a very happy patient.
CAVUTO: Would you tell me how much he is getting for this link up with you?
COLLINS: Well, I am not sure. We're underwriting, through the various pain associations, some his expenses as it's related to travel. But he is doing this because he is a happy patient.
CAVUTO: But the Pain Foundation, or whatever you want to call it, that he started up, you are funding that.
COLLINS: Yes. We are funding some of that to help defray his expenses. But as I said, Neil, he is doing this because he is he a happy patient. He does not need the money.
CAVUTO: Are you a happy guy now that you've got a Republican Congress to deal with, usually the understanding is that that's more friendly to device makers like yourself because they put fewer blocks in the way and get faster approval, we've already seen the signs of this last year with FDA approval for this sort of thing?
COLLINS: Well, as a matter of fact, one of the biggest changes that took place, took place before the elections. We had a FDA reform bill that allowed additional user fees to go into the portion of the FDA that reviews devices. Surprising as it may seem, there was less reviewers five years ago, reviewing devices, or there were more reviewers five years ago than there are today. So we now pay a fee and it allows our products to go through in a more timely way.
CAVUTO: Art Collins, good seeing you again, let's get you back here real soon.
COLLINS: All right, very good, Neil.
CAVUTO: Art Collins, the CEO of Medtronic.
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